Here’s a bell that NBC may not be able to fix: The network apologizes for an episode of “Saved By The Bell” reboot mocking Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant.
The sixth episode of the series’ first season, which arrived in full on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service on Wednesday, made several references to Gomez’s life-saving operation in 2017 for lupus-related organ damage, which sparked huge uproar from singer fans online.
“We apologize. It was never our intention to shed light on Selena̵
In one scene, two background actors quarrel over the identity of Gomez’s kidney donor after the fictional Bayside High cut off students from the Internet by confiscating their cell phones.
“I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber’s mother. God, I wish I had my phone so I could prove it, ”says a high school senior. The other responds: “Prove what? That you’re an idiot? It was Demi Lovato’s kidney. ”
Another scene from the same episode features two cast members talking in front of a wall of graffiti that reads, “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?”
The jokes hit many fans as deeply insensitive. Gomez became seriously ill due to complications from lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, the disease affects more than 1.5 million people in the United States
Two years after she was diagnosed, Gomez announced that she had undergone a kidney transplant with an organ from her friend, actress Francia Raisa. After the transplant, the “rare” singer experienced emergency complications that resulted in another operation to construct a new artery to support the kidneys, which did not function properly.
Gomez has not addressed the controversy “Saved By The Bell”. Raisa, however, expressed disappointment in a post on social media.
“Some of the cast and producers have personally reached out to me to apologize for this, and I really appreciate that,” Raisa wrote on Instagram Stories Saturday. “But I want to acknowledge that this public apology from the network must recognize the donors who could have been offended by this.”
“It’s not about me,” she continued, “it’s about acknowledging the great role that donors play.”
In a statement on Twitter the same day, Raisa spoke directly to organ donors like herself, who may be appalled by the show’s treatment of their experience.
“As a kidney donor, I want to show love and let other donors know you are not alone,” the actor tweeted. “You see. You will be appreciated. You are so brave and your selfless action is much appreciated and appreciated! ”
The tweet quickly went viral, with many of Gomez’s legions of followers chiming into their own accounts as “Respect Selena Gomez” began to evolve on Twitter.
In September, Gomez proudly showed off one of her kidney transplant scars after covering for years in a photo of herself tipping a swimsuit in one piece.
“When I had my kidney transplant, I remember that at first it was very difficult to show my scar. I did not want it in photos, so I had things on that covered it, ”she wrote in the caption. “Now more than ever I have confidence in who I am and what I’ve been through … and I’m proud of that.”
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