"Mario is the face of the reboot and feels terrible. He reached out to Selena Gomez but hasn't heard back from her yet," a source exclusively tells OK!. Lopez, a producer on the 2020 streaming TV sitcom, also reprises his role as A.C. Slater on the series.
"Moving forward Mario has demanded that the writers take a serious look at the show," adds the insider. "If they want it to be mean and cruel, he will have nothing more to do with it. Mario is a good guy. He is not Joan Rivers or Chelsea Handler, he doesn't find being mean funny, and this joke crossed the line."
Additionally, Lopez, 47 — who starred on the original Saved By The Bell when it debuted in 1989 — has an overall deal with NBC where he hosts Access. He has several more projects in development and the source insists he doesn't want them to be ruined over a stupid joke. "He is not happy and has let everyone know it," adds a pal.
The 2020 version of Saved By The Bell came under fire for its sixth episode, in which two Bayside High students jokingly debated who donated a kidney to the songstress. "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 said in the scene of the kids at school.
"Prove what?" the other responded. "That you're an idiot? It was Demi Lovato's kidney. They're best friends like you and I were." In a later scene, the camera cut to another angle of the hallway, where there was a wall with graffiti that reads, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?"
The "Hands To Myself" singer publicly revealed her pal Francia Rasia donated her kidney to save Gomez's life in 2017. The 28-year-old was diagnosed with lupus — an autoimmune disease that attacks the tissues and organs of her body — and has been very open about her day-to-day struggles with the illness while raising awareness for the autoimmune disease.
After much criticism for the controversial episode, Peacock, NBCUniversal and the show's executive producers apologized in a statement to Variety. "We apologize," the producers said. "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."
Fans were far from pleased with the show's attempt at a joke, as they took to social media to defend Gomez.
Other viewers questioned the point of mocking the pop star's health in a high school sitcom and how producers could be ignorant enough to allow this kind of joke on TV.