Francia Raisa says the joke about Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant that was featured in ‘Saved By The Bell’ was “dismissive to donors”
The reboot of the hit sitcom was met with criticism in December after an episode featured two characters speculating about Selena’s transplant, which she underwent in 2017 when Francia – who is close friends with Selena – offered to be her donor
15 January 2021
Bosses of the reboot eventually edited the episode and removed the scenes – which saw two characters debating over who Selena’s donor was, as well as featuring graffiti which read “Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?” – but Francia has now said she fears the damage to other donors has already been done.
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She said: “I was not offended by the dialogue that was said. I was offended by the spray paint written on the wall that said, ‘Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys’ and that just felt very dismissive to donors.
“It’s a tough process. It’s a tough decision, and I was just afraid that, you know, if anyone trying to donate is looking for a sign from God to not to do it, and I just felt like that could have potentially made a donor to say no, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to get made fun of.”
The 32-year-old actress went on to acknowledge NBC’s apology for the comments, but said more needed to be done to help make donors feel appreciated, rather than focusing the apology on Selena’s feelings.
Speaking during an appearance on ‘The Talk’, she added: “I just wish NBC in their public apology would have addressed potential donors or the donors that felt offended, and not just Selena.”
In NBC’s apology, the company said it was “never their intention” to make 28-year-old Selena’s health into a joke.
They said in a statement: "We apologise. 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.