Selena Gomez Calls Out 'Tasteless' Kidney Transplant Reference on The Good Fight, Encourages Organ Donation
“I am not sure how writing jokes about organ transplants for television shows has become a thing but sadly it has apparently,” Selena Gomez said
"I am not sure how writing jokes about organ transplants for television shows has become a thing but sadly it has apparently," Gomez, 29, wrote in a statement shared on Twitter Tuesday.
"I hope in the next writer's room when one of these tasteless jokes are presented it's called out immediately and doesn't make it on air," she continued, adding, "My fans always have my back. LOVE YOU."
The singer then provided a link to OrganDonor.gov, writing, "If you are able to please sign up to be an organ donor."
Gomez's statement comes two weeks after her 2017 transplant, which she underwent due to complications stemming from lupus, was used as fodder for a joke in The Good Fight.
In the episode that aired on July 17, characters Marissa (Sarah Steele), Jay (Nyambi Nyambi) and Jim (Ifádansi Rashad) discussed comedy's "cancel culture," going back and forth on the jokes they considered to be too hot-button.
Jay quipped that comedians "need a permission slip to tell a joke" in today's climate.
He went on to ask his co-workers what jokes they felt were inappropriate, which prompted responses "necrophilia," "autism" and "Selena Gomez's kidney transplant."
According to a source familiar with the episode, "If you watch the episode in full, the reference to Selena Gomez is part of a discussion the characters are having about topics that are not okay to make fun of and the idea of cancel culture and being cancelled for telling a bad joke. The reference is that Selena Gomez's transplant is not something you can joke about."
This isn't the first time Gomez's kidney transplant has been made fun of on television; a November 2020 episode of the Saved By the Bell reboot included several references to the singer's surgery.
In one scene, two Bayside High students argued whether Gomez's transplant donor was her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber's mom or singer Demi Lovato. In another scene, the words "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?" appeared on the walls in the school's hallway.
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After the episode aired, fans demanded an apology from NBCUniversal.
"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," Peacock, NBCUniversal and the show's executive producers said in a statement at the time.
Ultimately, the remarks were edited out, PEOPLE previously confirmed.
Gomez did not address the Saved By the Bell controversy, but her close friend and kidney donor, Francia Raisa, expressed her disappointment at the incident.
"Appreciate the apology but let's not forget about the donors that potentially felt offended and dismissed from the spray paint written on the wall," the Grown-ish actress, 33, wrote on Twitter after the network issued its statement.
Gomez shared that she was recovering from a kidney transplant in September 2017 after being open about her lupus diagnosis for several years.
The following month, Gomez told Today that the thought of asking someone to donate their kidney to her was "really difficult." Raisa "volunteered and did it," Gomez explained.
In September of last year, Gomez said that after struggling with her transplant scar, she now feels "confident in who I am and what I went through."