Selena Gomez's Kidney Donor Reacts To 'Saved By The Bell' Jokes
Selena Gomez’s friend Francia Raisa, who donated a kidney to the pop star in 2017, has responded to criticism of jokes about the transplant in an episode of the Saved by the Bell reboot.
“Some of the cast and producers have reached out to me personally to apologize for this and I truly appreciate that,” Raisa wrote in an Instagram Story, “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.”
In Episode 6 of the comedy series, two Bayside High students argue about who gave Gomez a kidney. “I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber’s mom,” says one, before the other insists “it was Demi Lovato’s kidney. They’re best friends.”
In another scene, “Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?” is seen written on a wall.
The episode has not yet aired in Canada, where the series is broadcast on W Network. (In the U.S., Saved by the Bell is on NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock.)
On Saturday, following complaints on social media and an online petition to have the show cancelled, Peacock issued an apology.
“It was never our intention to make light of Selena’s health,” read a statement. “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.”
In response, Raisa tweeted: “Appreciate the apology but let’s not forget about the donors that potentially felt offended and dismissed from the spray paint written on the wall.”
She added: “As a kidney donor I want to show love and let other donors know that you are not alone. You are seen. You are appreciated. You are so brave and your selfless act is very much appreciated and valued!”
Gomez has not commented publicly on the controversy. In an October 2017 interview on Today, she spoke about how Raisa saved her life.
“My kidneys were just done,” recalled Gomez. “That was it, and I didn’t want to ask a single person in my life. The thought of asking someone to do that was really difficult for me.
“She volunteered and did it. And let alone someone wanting to volunteer, it is incredibly difficult to find a match. The fact that she was a match, I mean that’s unbelievable. That’s not real.”
Gomez said she needed a new kidney due to her Lupus, the chronic autoimmune disease with which she was diagnosed roughly eight years ago.
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