Selena Gomez fans are furious at the Saved By The Bell reboot, after an episode of the show turned singer’s kidney transplant into a running joke.
The episode in question features a scene in which a student from the upscale Bayside High is heard saying to a friend:
“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 I could prove it.”
Her friend responds:
“Prove what? That you’re an idiot? It was Demi Lovato‘s kidney kidney. They’re best friends, like you and I were.”
A later scene in the same episode shows a school wall scrawled with graffiti that reads: “Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?”
Gomez was diagnosed with lupus in 2012, and later received a kidney transplant from her close friend, actress Francia Raisa. During the 2017 procedure, her artery broke and she had to undergo emergency surgery.
Fans have since taken to social media, angry at Saved By The Bell and NBC’s Peacock streaming service for making light of the situation. One wrote:
“You have no professional ethics. You should be ashamed to air a show where a person is mocked for their serious illness. It is not only offensive to Selena Gomez, but to all those who have had to go through a process as difficult as that.”
Another called the running joke “cruel and unjust”, saying the singer does not deserve to be mocked in this way.
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 has since issued a statement, saying:
“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.”