As the new Saved by the Bell faces controversy from Selena Gomez fans for joking about the star's kidney transplant, another celebrity has broken her silence. Actor Francia Raisa reacted to Saved by the Bell's Selena Gomez apology, and she made an important point in the process. Raisa isn't just Gomez's pal — she also donated one of her kidneys to the star in 2017, amid her fight with lupus.
The Saved by the Bell reboot launched on Peacock, the streaming service owned by NBCUniversal, on Wednesday, Nov. 25. It drew controversy shortly after its premiere for two scenes in which jokes are made about Gomez's kidney transplant. In the first, two characters argue about whether the artist's donor was actually her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber's mom, or her longtime friend Demi Lovato. In a later scene, spray-painted graffiti in a school hallway reads, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?"
"RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ" began trending on Twitter soon after the show's premiere, as fans argued that the jokes were disrespectful to the star and her battle with lupus. Peacock and Saved By the Bell's executive producers released an apology on Saturday, Nov. 29 via The Hollywood Reporter, saying, "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."
Raisa then addressed the apology on Twitter, emphasizing how the show's jokes could affect other donors. "Appreciate the apology, but let's not forget the donors that potentially felt offended and dismissed from the spray paint written on the wall," the actor wrote.
Raisa went on to show love to all other donors following the viral controversy.
Gomez, who hasn't yet addressed Saved By the Bell's remarks, has been very open about her health in the past. On Sept. 14, 2017, the star took to Instagram to explain that she had been M.I.A. because she had recently undergone kidney transplant surgery, which proved to be almost fatal due to complications. Through it all, Gomez was clearly able to lean on Raisa for life-saving support.
"There aren't words to express how I can possibly thank you beautiful friend Francia Raisa," Gomez wrote in her Instagram post. "She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed."