Saved by the Bell revival draws criticism for jokes about Selena Gomez's kidney transplant
In a scene from the series' sixth episode, two Bayside High students whose phones have been taken away argue over who Gomez's donor was. “I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber’s mom,” one says. “God, I wish that I had my phone so I could prove it.”
“Prove what? That you’re an idiot?” the other student responds. “It was Demi Lovato’s kidney. They’re best friends, like you and I were.” (The actual donor was Gomez's close friend, actress Francia Raisa.)
In another scene, graffiti on the school's wall reads, “Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?”
Many social media users criticized the show and Peacock for the references, which they perceived as offensive and disrespectful. "You should be ashamed to air a show where a person is mocked for their serious illness," one user wrote, addressing the streaming service. "It is not only offensive to Selena Gomez, but to all those who have had to go through a process as difficult as that."
The streamer, studio, and executive producers apologized for the jokes in a statement provided to EW. "We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena’s health," the statement reads. "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."
Gomez was diagnosed with lupus several years ago and underwent the kidney transplant due to complications from the disease. In an Instagram post at the time, she wrote, "I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery."
“There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa,” she added. “She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed.”
Saved by the Bell is currently streaming on Peacock.
Saved by the Bell (revival)