The Saved By The Bell creative team has heard Selena Gomez fans loud and clear. In response to backlash the series received after insensitively referencing Gomez’s kidney transplant from 2017, the new reboot edited out the controversial scenes in question.
For those who missed it: in the sixth episode of the new SBTB, two students carelessly debate over who donated the kidney to Selena, bickering back and forth as they throw out random names. Even more concerning is that, in a separate scene, graffiti can be seen with the question: “Does Selena even have kidneys?”
Totally messed up! What were they even thinking? Selena fans across the globe were P-I-S-S-E-D! And #RespectSelenaGomez trended on Twitter for that entire weekend.
On November 30, just five days after the new show dropped on Peacock, NBC officially released an apology to Selly. They mentioned they would be editing out the disrespectful moments and donating to her lupus research foundation to show support. In a statement, executives said:
“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.”
Though Gomez has yet to comment, her donor, actress Francia Raisa, spoke out to defend her friend on an Instagram story. Raisa made it clear that many people from the show, including talent and production staff, had reached out to give their sincerest apologies. But that doesn’t change the fact that writers turned a super serious surgery — that Selena and Francia could have died from — into a pathetic attempt at humor.
While this situation still rubs us the wrong way, at least the network took the right steps to correct a wrong. It’s hard to say whether this will truly fix the damages, especially to other people who have had kidney transplants and were hurt by these scenes, but perhaps this is a step in the right direction.
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