In a scene from episode 6 of the reboot, which premiered on NBCUniversal’s streaming service on Wednesday, November 25, two high school students can be seen arguing about who donated a kidney to the “Lose You to Love Me” singer, 28.
“I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber‘s mom,” one girl says. “God, I wish that I had my phone so that I could prove it.”
In another scene, the words “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?” can be seen written on a wall near some lockers.
As a result, the hashtag #RespectSelenaGomez trended on Twitter as fans expressed their outrage.
“It’s so f***ing rude and insensitive to make fun of someone’s illness just for clout,” one fan wrote. “This affects a lot of people not just Selena who is either fighting this illness or lost people to it. The people making fun of her struggle make me disgusted.”
“This is a HUGE lack of respect, not only with Selena but with all the people who are or who have been through the same things as her,” another wrote. “This matter should be brought up in a respectful manner and not in such a low and dirty.”
The “Souvenir” singer revealed in September 2017 that she’d undergone a kidney transplant earlier in the year due to complications with lupus. In an Instagram post, Gomez wrote that her “beautiful friend” actress Francia Raisa “gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me.”
In a statement to Us Weekly on Saturday, November 28, the show’s executive producers, Peacock and NBCUniversal acknowledged the misstep.
“We apologize,” the statement read. “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.”
Raisa responded to the apology on Twitter, writing, “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 followed it up with a second message: “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!”
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