According to Variety, in a scene from episode six of the series, two Bayside high students wonder about the identity of the singer’s donor, even though it was revealed in 2017 that her close friend and actor, Francia Raísa gave Gomez a kidney.
“I know for a fact that Selena Gomez’s kidney donor was Justin Bieber’s mom. God, I wish that I had my phone so that I could prove it,” one student says. “Prove what?” the other replies. “That you’re an idiot? It was Demi Lovato’s kidney. They’re best friends, like you and I were.”
In another scene, graffiti on a wall reads, “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?” The episode led “Respect Selena Gomez” to trend on Twitter, as fans called out the show for referencing Gomez’s health.
Peacock, NBCUniversal, and the show’s executive producers also expressed their remorse for the show's remarks in a statement to Variety. “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,” the release said.
In the episode, Bayside High students get their phones taken from them and don’t have access to the internet, which would help substantiate their conversations regarding pop culture.
In 2017, Gomez disclosed that she had to have kidney surgery because of her lupus condition, which she publicized in 2015. In 2018, her health caused her to suffer an emotional breakdown and subsequently had to be admitted into a psychiatric facility. She previously said that she shared the news of her condition so that there could be a deeper understanding of the autoimmune disease.