Saved By The Bell have apologised after receiving major backlash for their “tone deaf” jokes about Selena Gomez.
The reboot of the popular sitcom aired in the US earlier this week, with fans taking to social media to defend Selena after several scenes poked fun at her 2017 kidney transplant.
In episode six, entitled ‘Teen-Line’, Bayside High students argued over who the singer’s donor was, with one saying: “I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber’s mom.”
Another student stated: “It was Demi Lovato’s kidney. They’re best friends… like you and I were.”
Saved by the Bell, that's disgusting. Selena almost lost her life, jokes about her kidney transplant is NOT FUNNY. Respect Selena Gomez. pic.twitter.com/c8AZbsU1m0
— Selena Charts (@selenachartsbr) November 28, 2020
In another scene, fans spotted graffiti written on a school wall that read: “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?”
Selena revealed she got a kidney transplant back in 2017 due to complications from Lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes harm to organs and tissues.
Sharing a photo from the hospital to Instagram, the 28-year-old wrote: “There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me.”
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On Saturday, fans got the hashtag #RespectSelenaGomez trending on Twitter, with many branding the show’s comments as “tone-deaf”.
One fan tweeted: “Making jokes about autoimmune diseases and organ transplants is disgusting. Strong ass people are really surviving (and dying from) these things every. single. day.
“The new Saved by the Bell writers are so tone deaf, I can’t even..”
why is the Saved By the Bell reboot … using Selena Gomez’s health problems as a joke? pic.twitter.com/ncVzr2ALlZ
— alex (@alex_abads) November 28, 2020
selena has been through so much in her life, with 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.
RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ pic.twitter.com/rBo0RH5wdm
— ana🍂 (@anaablink) November 28, 2020
The show-runners should’ve known how tone deaf and insensitive to lupus survivors it was to have “does selena gomez even have kidneys” spray painted on the wall. You’re not edgy you’re disrespectful. RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ https://t.co/fpZPG45DD7
— “Lost” by william imler OUT NOW (@Will_Imler) November 28, 2020
Making jokes about autoimmune diseases and organ transplants is disgusting. Strong ass people are really surviving (and dying from) these things every. single. day. The new Saved by the Bell writers are so tone deaf, I can’t even…#respectselenagomez #andfranciaraisa
— Whitley Purnell (@PurnellWhitley) November 28, 2020
— henryleon (@henryle84644685) November 28, 2020
Saved by the bell show is tone deaf an shows true colors… boycott the show…it duked in first version as well as reboot anyway….wish u great health Ms Gomez….dont pay attention to those idiots
— Digler (@Digler16) November 28, 2020
a tv show called "saved by the bell" has "does selena gomez even have a kidney?" written on the wall. this is so disgusting and unnecessary. selena doesn't deserve this.
RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ pic.twitter.com/u7IcPX8NqV
— ً (@jndoIIs) November 28, 2020
the show “saved by the bell reboot” has an extremely disgusting scene where they were mocking the superstar selena gomez’s health, by writing this on the wall. i don’t know what was the point of it, all i know that it needs to be removed asap, thank you. @UniversalTV @peacockTV pic.twitter.com/LYRkdPPljV
— ‘ (@littleselss) November 28, 2020
Following the backlash, Peacock, UTV and executive producers issued an apology in a statement obtained by E! News.
The statement read: “We apologise. It was never our intention to make light of Selena’s health.
“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.”
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