Selena Gomez. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Global Citizen VAX LIVE)
A scene that aired on the law drama last month featured some of the characters debating about what they could and could not joke about: Gomez’s transplant was put in the latter category. Gomez’s fans then sent “RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ” trending.
The actress and singer responded Tuesday. “I am not sure how writing jokes about organ transplants for television shows has become a thing but sadly it has apparently,” she wrote. “I hope in the next writer’s room when one of these tasteless jokes are presented it’s called out immediately and doesn’t make it on air.”
She also thanked her dedicated fans, then went a step further. She asked them to sign up to be organ donors.
Gomez’s own donor was a close friend, Francia Raisa. At the time, Gomez explained that the operation was necessary because of her struggle with lupus. And she spent some time out of the spotlight to recover. In the years since, she has shared her story and has become an advocate for organ donation.
While a transplant is a serious subject, it’s been mined for entertainment before. Peacock’s Saved by the Bell reboot — a flat-out comedy — infamously mentioned it in a November 2020 episode. In it, two characters argue over who really gave Gomez the kidney. “I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber’s mom,” one character said of Gomez’s former boyfriend. “God, I wish that I had my phone so that I could prove it.” Another argues that it was from her former Barney & Friends co-star Demi Lovato. A second scene questioned if Gomez even had a kidney.
After blowback from Gomez’s supporters, the network apologized and removed the scene. They also promised to make a donation to the Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at the University of Southern California.
Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to Paramount+ and CBS Studios for comment.
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