Selena Gomez’s fans came out in full force against the “Saved by the Bell” reboot Saturday after a joke was made in an episode about the singer’s kidney transplant.
“RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ” trended and generated almost 150,000 tweets on Twitter by the afternoon, as fans shared their outrage over the quips. Many of them called on Peacock, the NBC streaming service airing the reboot, to apologize or remove the episode.
On the show, two teens argue in the Bayside High School hallway about who donated a kidney to Gomez in 2017 after she had been diagnosed with lupus years earlier. (In reality, the donor was her friend Francia Raisa.) In the clip, the two characters bicker, with one insisting it was the mother of her ex-boyfriend, Justin Bieber, while another said it was her former best friend, Demi Lovato.
Graffiti is seen in another part of the video asking, “Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?”
“We would love if you take out the episode with those things wrote on wall. When someone does a joke with a person with Lupus, it’s disrespecting all people that fighting daily for survive, with problems on immune system, kidneys, skin…” one tweet directed at Peacock says.
Another wrote: “selena suffered so much from lupus. she thought she will die in the surgery and even said goodbye to us. also she was really dying. her surgery was so critical. how can you be so cruel? RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ.”
And the fury continued:
selena's surgery lasted 9 hours due to complications, she broke an artery and they had to use a vein from her leg to build a new one to keep the kidney in place, she almost lost her life and people to this day still want to use this as a joke?
RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ
— blanca stark (@selsweeknd) November 28, 2020
Fans also shared photos of the star recovering in the hospital and clips from an interview Gomez did with NBC News’ own Savannah Guthrie. In the interview, done alongside Raisa, Gomez says as she fights tears, “I just really hope that we can help somebody. I really do. I don’t think what we went through was easy. I don’t think it was fun. I hope that this inspires people to feel good, to know that there is really good people in the world.”
A representative for the streaming service did not immediately return a request for comment.
The reboot premiered on Thanksgiving.