NBC’s Peacock has apologized for scenes in the new reboot of Saved by the Bell that reference Selena Gomez’s 2017 kidney transplant following outrage from Gomez’s fans on social media. In a scene from the sixth episode of the new series, two students argue over the identity of Gomez’s kidney donor, with one character claiming it was “Justin Bieber’s mom” and the other claiming it was Demi Lovato. (In reality, the donor was Gomez’s friend Francia Raisa.) In a later scene, graffiti in the school hallway seems to read, “Does Selena Gomez Even Have A Kidney.” Fans of Gomez took to Twitter to express their anger at the jokes, with the hashtag “RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ” trending on the site on Saturday. A Change.org petition calling for the reboot to be canceled has also garnered over 4,000 signatures. Peacock responded to the controversy, saying in a statement, “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 herself has not yet responded to the situation.
Update, December 1: Peacock has removed the Gomez kidney-transplant jokes from the sixth episode of Saved by the Bell. An edited version is streaming now.