Saved by the Bell Reboot Removes Controversial Selena Gomez Kidney References After Outrage
Days after Selena Gomez's fans expressed their outrage at Peacock's new Saved by the Bell reboot for including several references to the singer's 2017 kidney transplant, PEOPLE confirms the scenes have since been edited.
On Saturday, the entertainer's fans got "RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ" to trend on Twitter and demanded an apology from NBCUniversal's streaming service.
"You have no professional ethics. You should be ashamed to air a show where a person is mocked for their serious illness," wrote one Selenator. "It is not only offensive to Selena Gomez, but to all those who have had to go through a process as difficult as that."
In the wake of the backlash on Saturday, Peacock, NBCUniversal and the show's executive producers released a statement saying they would be making a donation to support lupus research.
"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," they said in the statement.
While Gomez, 28, hasn't spoken out about the controversy, her close friend and kidney donor Francia Raisa expressed her disappointment on Saturday.
"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, 32, wrote on Twitter.
In one scene from the new series, two students at Bayside High argue over 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?" appear to be written on the walls in the school’s hallway.
Gomez first revealed that she had received a kidney transplant from Raisa in September 2017, after being open about her battle with lupus for several years.
The "Back to You" singer shared a photo of the friends holding hands from their hospital beds as well as photos of the scars on her stomach following the surgery.
"There aren't words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa," Gomez said. "She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis."
"My kidneys were just done,” she later explained in an interview on Today in October 2017. "That was it, and I didn't want to ask a single person in my life. The thought of asking someone to do that was really difficult for me. She volunteered and did it. And let alone someone wanting to volunteer, it is incredibly difficult to find a match. The fact that she was a match, I mean that's unbelievable. That's not real."
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