Selena Gomez

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In its sixth episode, the spin-off series Saved by the Bell delivers jokes at the expense of Selena Gomez and her kidney transplant, due to her Lupus. Peacock, Universal Television, and executive producers issued a public apology.


With "Respect Selena Gomez" trending on Twitter and public statements by Gomez's own kidney donor, the series faced a lot of heat with its sixth episode.

'Saved by the Bell' Makes Selena Gomez Jokes

The spin-off series is only in its first season, but already facing major backlash for its recent Selena Gomez related jokes. In an episode, the students of Bayside High have their phones taken away leading to an argument between two students on pop culture events without the ability to confirm their statements.

The argument goes,

"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 I could prove it" says the first student.

"Prove what? That you're an idiot? It was Demi Lovato's kidney. They're best friends…like you and I were" responds the second.

Peacock's Apology

Peacock, Universal Television, and executive producers of the show issued a statement to TODAY after the episode's backlash,

"We apologize. 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."

Francia Raisa Makes a Statement

Actress Francia Raisa, known for her roles in Grown-ish (2018-present) and Bring it On: All or Nothing (2006), was the kidney donor for Gomez's transplant.

Raisa commented on the backlash through a tweet transferring the attention to kidney donors and their selfless act of courage.

Gomez's Battle With Lupus

Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Lupus in 2012, maintaining a low profile on her medical condition. Gomez put her illness on the back burner until it began to have an immense effect on her kidneys. Thankfully, Raisa was able to donate her kidney to Gomez in a secret operation that was made public by Gomez in a 2017 Instagram post.

Watch an Interview With Raisa and Gomez Here:

Today, Gomez continues to spread Lupus Awareness and began a fund for Lupus research at the University of Southern California.

If there is anything to take from the backlash of the Saved by the Bell episode, it is the attention turned towards Lupus patients and kidney donors. There are many brave individuals out there who live with this illness everyday and our thoughts are with them.

For more information on Lupus: https://www.lupus.org/resources/what-is-lupus

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