“Selena was really upset by the Saved by the Bell scene about her health and thought of it as bullying and offensive,” the source says of Gomez, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2017. “She felt as though her kidney transplant, and others who have gone through that, was used as a joke at her expense.”
Peacock’s reimagining of Saved by the Bell came under fire after its release, when jokes about Gomez’s transplant were made. In one scene, two characters are seen arguing over who donated Gomez’s kidney. As the singer previously revealed, her friend, Francia Raisa, donated her kidney.
“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 that I could prove it,” one character says.
“Prove what? That you’re an idiot?” another character replies. “It was Demi Lovato’s kidney. They’re best friends, like you and I were.”
In another scene, graffiti reading, “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?” can be spotted on the wall in the background.
After outrage from fans, Peacock, NBCUniversal and the show’s executive producers apologized.
“We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena’s health,” they said in a statement to ET on Saturday. “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.”
Raisa reacted to the controversy on her Instagram Story, writing, “Some of the cast and producers have reached out to me personally to apologize for this and I truly appreciate that.”
“I do want to acknowledge that this public apology from the network should acknowledge the donors that could have been offended by this,” she wrote. “It’s not about me, it’s about acknowledging the great role that donors play @nbc @peacocktv #savedbythebell.”
The streaming service has since removed the jokes from the series.
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