American singer and actor Selena Gomez expressed her disliking for sitcom Saved by the Bell's jokes about her kidney transplant.
A recent report by Entertainment Tonight said that Selena was really upset by the 'Saved by the Bell' scene where her health condition was mocked and thought of it as bullying and offensive. The report further said that Gomez, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2017 felt as though her kidney transplant and others who have gone through a similar experience were used as a joke at their expense.
NBC Universal’s streaming service, Peacock's reboot of classic sitcom 'Saved by the Bell' came under criticism after its release when jokes about Gomez's transplant were made. The scene, in question, shows two characters arguing over who donated Gomez's kidney. As the 28-year-old singer had revealed that her friend, Francia Raisa, donated her kidney.
In the scene, one character says, "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”.
"Prove what? That you’re an idiot?" another character replies. "It was Demi Lovato's kidney. They’re best friends, like you and I were."
In another scene there is a graffiti reading, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?" It comes up in the background.
The scene was not taken in good faith and fans have expressed their dislike for the not-so-creative take. Peacock, NBCUniversal and the show’s executive producers later had to apologize for the scenes.
Unfortunately, I am not surprised about the Selena Gomez “joke” in the Saved by the Bell reboot. This is a show that has always had a history of punching down. I remember being like 10 and they had an episode featuring a hearing impaired teacher. It was the first time I had seen — Meredith Lee (@meralee727) December 1, 2020
a kid wearing hearing aids, Saved by the Bell was telling me that my impairment was something to be made fun of. Now, there’s a lot I loved about Saved by the Bell. It was corny, sometimes sweet but a lot that was problematic. They always seemed to derive humor from punching down — Meredith Lee (@meralee727) December 1, 2020
Hey Peacock if you wanna respect Selena Gomez you have to remove both scenes from the Saved By The Bell episode that’s the only option! — Josh ❤️ Wonder Woman 1984 #Soul #BlackLivesMatter (@supermangeek101) November 29, 2020
According to Entertainment Tonight, in their statement, the show's makers said that they never intended to make light of Selena's health. They further said that they 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.
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Selena's donor Raisa also reacted to the controversy on Twitter and wrote, "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." She further tweeted, "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!"
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 https://t.co/HIwa30PKMM — Francia Raisa (@franciaraisa) November 28, 2020
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! 🙏🏽 — Francia Raisa (@franciaraisa) November 28, 2020
She later took to Instagram Story to say that some of the cast and producers have reached out to her personally to apologize for this and she truly appreciates that.