Selena Gomez slams 'tasteless' kidney transplant jokes on TV shows
Gomez responds to fan outrage over shows like The Good Fight and Saved by the Bell referencing kidney transplants after her own experience with the medical procedure.
Selena Gomez has called for TV shows to do some precision surgery on their scripts before letting "tasteless" jokes about kidney transplants make it to air.
After her fans expressed outrage over The Good Fight's recent reference to her own experience with the medical procedure, Gomez responded Tuesday to the inclusion in a brief note on social media.
"I am not sure how writing jokes about organ transplants for television shows has become a thing, but sadly it has," the 29-year-old tweeted. "I hope in the next writer's room when one of these tasteless jokes [is] presented, it's called out immediately and doesn't make it on air. My fans always have my back. LOVE YOU."
The scene in question occurs in episode 4 of the show's fifth season, where a TV executive (Wayne Brady) asks Liz (Audra McDonald) to assemble a sensitivity read for one of his comedic stars, and the subsequent group engages in a back-and-forth over which topics are acceptable or unacceptable to include in a comedic set.
A source close to the Paramount+ series — which follows Christine Baranski through a legal-themed spin-off of the CBS drama The Good Wife — tells EW there is no joke made at Gomez's expense in the scene, but that the reference "is part of a discussion the characters are having about topics that are not okay to make fun of, and the idea of cancel culture being cancelled for telling a bad joke," while further stressing that the point of the scene is to amplify the notion that Gomez's "transplant is not something you can joke about."
This isn't the first time Gomez's fans have come to the singer-actress' defense regarding a series' reference to her kidney transplant, which she received from Life-Size 2 and Grown-ish actress Francia Raisa back in 2017 following a battle with Lupus. Peacock's Saved by the Bell revival similarly drew criticism for multiple references to Gomez's health across its debut season, with fans calling out the writers' apparent "obsession" with discussing her kidneys.
Peacock and Saved by the Bell executive producers later apologized for the lines in a statement to EW: "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."
Though both incidents have driven a wedge between Gomez's fans and both TV series, Raisa told EW in a 2018 interview that her gift to her friend brought them closer together, and built up confidence in herself in unexpected ways.
"I have a scene where my stomach shows. I was like, 'Tyra [Banks], do you want me to cover the scars?' She goes, 'No, girl! Show them! It's part of your life; It's your story,'" Raisa said of a scene she shared with the supermodel in Freeform's Life-Size 2, which sees her baring scars on her body from the kidney transplant surgery. "That's the theme throughout the movie: be you, show you, love people, don't be afraid of who you are."
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The Good Fight