'Saved by the Bell' Producers Apologize After Selena Gomez Kidney Transplant Joke on Peacock Reboot

The Saved By the Bell reboot came under fire recently after the show included references to Selena Gomez's kidney transplant. The show garnered so much criticism for the references that "Respect Selena Gomez" even became a trending topic on Twitter on Saturday. In response to this controversy, Peacock, NBCUniversal, and the show's executive producers released a statement in which they apologized to the singer.

The references in question took place in Episode 6 of the Saved By the Bell reboot. The synopsis for the episode involves the students at Bayside High having their phones taken away. As a result, they do not have immediate sources to confirm their pop culture knowledge. In one scene during the episode, two characters can be seen discussing Gomez's kidney transplant, a topic which the actor and singer has been vocal about since she went public with the news back in 2017.

"I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber's mom. God, I wish that I had my phone so that I could prove it,” one student says in the scene. The other student replies, “Prove what? That you're an idiot? It was Demi Lovato's kidney. They're best friends like you and I were.” In a separate scene from that episode, graffiti appears on the wall that reads, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?" Peacock, NBCUniversal, and the show's executive producers have since released a statement about this matter in which they issued their apologies to Gomez.

"We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena's health. We have been in touch with her team and will be making a donation to her charity, The Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC," their statement read, per Variety. The publication reached out to Gomez's representatives for comment, but they did immediately respond. Not only did these references draw widespread criticism from fans, but Francia Raisa, Gomez's friend who donated her kidney to the singer, also spoke out about the controversy on social media. She acknowledged the apology from those behind the show but noted that she wants everyone to take this situation seriously.

"Appreciate the apology but let's not forget about the donors that potentially felt offended and dismissed from the spray paint written on the wall," Raisa wrote on Twitter. "As a kidney donor, I want to show love and let other donors know that you are not alone. You are seen. You are appreciated. You are so brave and your selfless act is very much appreciated and valued!"