NBC’s Peacock has edited out controversial jokes about Selena Gomez from its new Saved by the Bell reboot that launched over Thanksgiving week. During a recent episode, the show made multiple references to Gomez (who has lupus, an autoimmune disease) receiving a kidney transplant, which sparked intense backlash from her fans. While Peacock initially apologized on Sunday for the ill-advised attempts at humor, the streaming service has now taken the extra step of scrapping the scenes completely. An edited version of the episode is now streaming. Via Vulture:
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.
One of the questions raised during the outrage is how the jokes made it onto Saved by the Bell to begin with, and more than once. The controversial episode contained a scene where the words “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?” are spray painted on a wall, which was then followed by the characters speculating whether Justin Bieber’s mom or Demi Lovato donated a kidney to Gomez. To make matters more uncomfortable, Gomez been candid about her struggles with being self-conscious with her surgery scars.
“When I got my kidney transplant, I remember it being very difficult at first showing my scar,” Gomez wrote on Instagram. “Now, more than ever, I feel confident in who I am and what I went through… and I’m proud of that.”