Saved By the Bell Apologizes to Selena Gomez After Receiving Backlash for Kidney Comments

Selena Gomez's fans came to her defense after the television show referenced her 2017 kidney transplant. Following the backlash, Peacock, UTV and the show's producers issued an apology.

By E! Online Staff Nov 28, 2020 10:06 PMTags
Watch: "Saved by the Bell" Apologizes for Selena Gomez Kidney Remark

Selena Gomez fans are upset over the new Saved By the Bell reboot on NBCU's Peacock streaming service.

The "Souvenir" singer's followers defended her on Twitter on Saturday, Nov. 28 after the television show included several scenes that referenced her real-life 2017 kidney transplant. The sixth episode, titled "Teen-Line," included two instances when Selena's surgery was brought up at Bayside High.

In one scene, two students, who are not main cast members, argue over who Selena's transplant donor was. "I know for a fact that Selena Gomez's kidney donor was Justin Bieber's mom," one character stated, according to a Twitter user who shared footage of the episode. "God I wish that I had my phone so I could prove it."

"Prove what? That you're an idiot," the other character replied. "It was Demi Lovato's kidney. They're best friends... like you and I were."

Back in 2017, Selena revealed she received a kidney transplant from her friend and Grown-ish actress Francia Raisa.

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Selena Gomez's Most Candid Quotes

In another scene from the same episode, one of the school walls had a message written in black graffiti about the pop star's surgery. The text appeared to read, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?"

Although the main characters Alycia Pascual-Peña (Aisha Garcia) and Belmont Cameli (Jamie Spano) don't mention Selena's health during their heart-to-heart, the graffiti wall is displayed in the background.

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In light of the episode, the star's fans have expressed their outrage on Twitter. So much so that "Respect Selena Gomez" was trending on Saturday.

One user shared, "Selena has been through so much in her life, with [sic] kidney transplant, constant battle with lupus, and her struggle with bipolar disorder. It makes me sick how some people think it's funny to joke about a disease."

Another person wrote, "wtf is wrong with this show and it's [sic] obsession with selenas [sic] health??? this is so disgusting and unnecessary."

"The show-runners should've known how tone deaf [sic] and insensitive to lupus survivors it was to have 'does selena gomez even have kidneys' spray painted [sic] on the wall," someone else added. "You're not edgy you're disrespectful."

Peacock

Following the backlash, Peacock, UTV and executive producers issued an apology in a statement shared with E! News.

"We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena's health," the statement read. "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."

At this time, the 28-year-old star hasn't issued a statement regarding the series. E! News has reached out to Selena's reps for comment and we have yet to receive a response.

(E! and Peacock are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)