Saved by the Bell: NBCU Apologizes for Selena Gomez Kidney Jokes

As probably one of the most wholesome sitcoms about high school, Saved by the Bell landed in some hot water particularly from Selena Gomez fans who took to social media to denounce references made to her kidney transplant in the sequel series' premiere season. The actress-singer became the target of gossip among students who speculate who the donor is particularly in the episode "Teen-line". "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 that I could prove it," one student says. "Prove what?" the other replies. "That you're an idiot? It was Demi Lovato's kidney. They're best friends like you and I were."

Saved by the Bell: NBCU Apologizes for Selena Gomez Kidney Jokes
L – Selena Gomez. R – The Cast of Saved by the Bell (2020). Images courtesy of BAKOUNINE / & Peacock/NBCU

Another scene had graffiti spray-painted asking, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?" While the actress hasn't responded directly about the references, her fans took to social media with the hashtag "Respect Selena Gomez" trending on Twitter accusing the network and producers of punching down on November 28. Peacock, the NBC Universal streamer that airs Saved by the Bell released a statement to Variety.

Peacock Statement Regarding Selena Gomez & "Saved by the Bell"

"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."

Gomez revealed she underwent a kidney transplant due to her lupus in 2017 after going public with her diagnosis in 2015. She became an advocate for raising awareness of the disease. All 10 episodes of the first season of Saved by the Bell are available to stream on Peacock. Do you feel the references go too far? Here are some of the tweets below.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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