Saved By The Bell reboot comes under fire for jokes about Selena Gomez's kidney transplant
On November 25, 2020, the Saved By The Bell reboot premiered on NBCUniversal's streaming service Peacock. It is a 2020 edition of the 1989-1993 series of the same name, featuring a new generation of cast members, with most of the cast from the original Saved By The Bell reprising their characters as well, except Dustin Diamond (who played Screech) and Dennis Haskins (who played Mr. Belding), in recurring roles.
An episode of the reboot, "Teen-Line" (not to be confused with the 1992 episode of the original series with a similar name), is about the students at Bayside High having their phones confiscated and struggling to live without them. During the episode, one scene shows two students arguing about who Selena Gomez's kidney donor was, with one student claiming that it was Justin Bieber's mother, and the other argues that it was Demi Lovato being her donor. Gomez's donor, in reality, was actress Francia Raisa; the former underwent a kidney transplant surgery in the summer of 2017 to treat her battle with lupus. Another scene depicts the phrase "Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?" spray-painted above lockers in the school hallway.
These jokes drew heavy criticism from critics, viewers, Selena Gomez's fans, and her donor Francia Raisa, who dismissed the jokes about her 2017 kidney transplant as "disgusting", "offensive", and "disrespectful", and the hashtag #RespectSelenaGomez started to trend on Twitter. Subsequently, NBCUniversal and Peacock apologized for the jokes, edited such jokes out of the episode, and made a large donation to The Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at the University of Southern California.