Fans of Selena Gomez have expressed their outrage this weekend, after NBC’s Saved By The Bell reboot joked about the singer’s 2017 kidney transplant.
Despite Gomez’s public statement that she had received a transplant from her close friend, actor Francia Raísa – who later suggested that the singer “could have died” from complications surrounding the surgery – one of the new episodes features two Bayside High students speculating about the identity of the donor.
“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. “Prove what?” the other replies. “That you’re an idiot? It was Demi Lovato’s kidney. They’re best friends, like you and I were.”
In a separate scene, there appears to be graffiti on a wall that reads, “Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?”
As a result, “Respect Selena Gomez” began trending on Twitter on Saturday (November 28), with fans calling the scene “disgusting,” “unnecessary,” and “cruel and unjust”.
Saved by the Bell, that’s disgusting. Selena almost lost her life, jokes about her kidney transplant is NOT FUNNY. Respect Selena Gomez. pic.twitter.com/c8AZbsU1m0
— Selena Charts (@selenachartsbr) November 28, 2020
a tv show called “saved by the bell” has “does selena gomez even have a kidney?” written on the wall. this is so disgusting and unnecessary. selena doesn’t deserve this.
RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ pic.twitter.com/u7IcPX8NqV
— ً (@jndoIIs) November 28, 2020
Joking about someone’s disease is not funny whatsoever. It’s just so cruel and unjust. Selena doesn’t deserve that & no one else deserves that either.
RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ pic.twitter.com/b0cmZrysVG
— Julian: into the Julian-Verse | BLM (@cooljulian5) November 28, 2020
Peacock, NBCUniversal and the show’s executive producers, apologised for the references in a statement to Variety.
“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,” the statement reads.
Meanwhile, Gomez has signed up to star as mountaineer Silvia Vásquez-Lavado in a new biopic.
The singer will play the Peruvian in In the Shadow of the Mountain, which is based off an upcoming memoir by the mountaineer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.