The ‘Saved By The Bell’ Reboot is Getting Slammed for Joking About Selena Gomez’s Kidney Transplant
The Saved By The Bell reboot is off to a rocky start. The series aired its debut season on Nov. 25 on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. Two clips from the series are now going viral online due to the random inclusion of Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant into the plot, prompting “RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ” to trend on Twitter.
Selena Gomez had a kidney transplant in 2017
The 28-year-old star announced on Sept. 14, 2017, that she had a kidney transplant earlier that year. The transplant was needed due to health issues caused by Lupus, an autoimmune disease for which she had previously been hospitalized and received chemotherapy treatment. Grown-ish star and good friend of Gomez, Francia Raisa, was her kidney donor.
As the “Rare” singer shared in her 2017 Instagram announcement:
I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.
The Saved By The Bell reboot released all 10 episodes of its inaugural season on Peacock on Nov. 25. On Nov. 28, two clips from the series started making rounds on Twitter due to the show’s mention of Gomez and her health.
What did the ‘Saved By The Bell’ reboot say about Selena Gomez?
One scene depicts two characters fighting in the school hallway. In the conversation, one of the girls explains her theory about Gomez’s kidney donor, bringing Justin Bieber into the conversation.
“Now, I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber’s mom,” she says. “God, I wish that I had my phone so that I could prove it.”
“Prove what, that you’re an idiot?” her friend replies before bringing another celebrity’s name into the mix. “It was Demi Lovato’s kidney! They’re best friends, like you and I were.”
This conversation was clearly intended to be a humorous nod to teen conspiracy theories about celebrities, but just like the Larry Stylinson theory being included in Euphoria, it touched on a topic people thought to be over the line. But it doesn’t end there.
In another scene, two other characters are reconciling in the Bayside hallway. Behind them is graffiti on the wall that reads, “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?”
Why is ‘RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ’ trending?
Gomez’s fans are outraged by the jokes about her health. They quickly flooded Twitter with the phrase “RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ,” and it ended up trending globally. Twitter users are saying it’s disrespectful and weird to use Gomez’s serious and personal health issues as a punchline.
“Now I’m just intrigued why this show seems to be obsessed with Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant and thinks it’s hilarious?” one tweet read.
“It seems like a tacky reference, but idk,” the user continued.
Wrote another Twitter user, “Mocking a kidney transplant is no joke! She went through a life threatening ordeal and I’m appalled that a tv show felt it was okay to make a mockery of it.”
As another fan chimed in, “It’s really weird that they would incorporate this into the show in the first place??? It’s someone’s personal health.”
In a show depicting modern-day teenagers in the time of social media, it absolutely makes sense for a topic like fandoms and fan-made theories to be incorporated. But choosing to joke about Gomez’s autoimmune disease and lifesaving kidney transplant is in poor taste. It’s not unfair to have teens debate over their favorite celebrity fan theories, but Gomez’s kidney donor was never even in question in the first place, as the Wizards of Waverly Place alum kept news of her transplant and her donor secret until the day she announced she had the procedure. Neither Gomez nor Peacock have publicly commented on the backlash.