A joke referencing Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant has been removed from an episode of “Saved by the Bell”.
The rebooted version of the hit sitcom was widely criticised on social media over the weekend after an episode featured two characters speculating about Selena’s donor, but there is now an edited version of the episode streaming on NBCU’s Peacock site.
During episode six of the reboot, two of the show’s stars argued over who actually donated a kidney to Selena.
One of the actresses said: “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.”
In response, the other said: “Prove what? That you’re an idiot? It was Demi Lovato‘s kidney. They’re best friends, like you and I were.”
During another scene, the words “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?” are seen written on the walls.
The scenes prompted the hashtag #RespectSelenaGomez to start trending on Twitter, and Francia Raisa – Selena’s actual donor – has since received an apology from the producers of ‘Saved by the Bell’.
However, Francia – who donated her organ to her pal after she suffered complications from lupus – is concerned that the gag may have hurt other donors.
She said on her Instagram Story: “Some of the cast and producers have reached out to me personally to apologize for this and I truly appreciate that.
“But I do want to acknowledge that this public apology from the network should acknowledge the donors that could have been offended by this. It’s not about me, it’s about acknowledging the great role that donors play (sic)”
Meanwhile, the show’s executive producers, Peacock and NBCUniversal have also issued a public apology.
They said in a statement: “We apologise. 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.”