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Ashley Tisdale Appeared To Defend Selena Gomez After Multiple TV Shows Made Jokes About Her Kidney Transplant

"Maybe go back to school to come up with something clever and actually funny."

Posted on August 5, 2021, at 9:45 a.m. ET

Ashley Tisdale has come to the defense of fellow former Disney star Selena Gomez after TV drama The Good Fight made reference to the singer's 2017 kidney transplant.

Dominik Bindl / Getty Images

During Season 5, Episode 4, which aired on July 15, several characters have a discussion about comedy, cancel culture, and which subjects are too sensitive to joke about.

The show I’m watching were talking about things that we can’t joke about and they mentioned Selena’s transplant. I mean it wasn’t bad but I still don’t like that it was even mentioned tbh. 😶

Twitter: @smgculture

Suggestions for topics people can't joke about include "necrophilia," "autism," and "Selena Gomez's kidney transplant."

The joke was likely a reference to a 2020 episode of the Saved By the Bell reboot that included a joke about the singer's 2017 transplant, which she received as part of her treatment for lupus. The joke was the subject of criticism from Selena's fans, who called it "cruel" and "disgusting."

Speaking to E! News, a source close to The Good Fight said the scene had been misconstrued, explaining: "The reference is that her transplant is not something you can joke about."

CBS Studios

The insider said: "If you watch the episode in full, the reference to Gomez is part of a discussion the characters are having about topics that are not OK to make fun of and the idea of cancel culture and being canceled for telling a bad joke."

But Selena's fans didn't see it that way — and neither did Selena herself, who addressed the situation on Tuesday in a series of tweets, calling the joke "tasteless."

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Global Citizen VAX LIVE

"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," the 29-year-old wrote.

I am not sure how writing jokes about organ transplants for television shows has become a thing but sadly it has apparently. 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.

Twitter: @selenagomez

She followed up the tweet with a message of love for her fans who "always have [her] back" and a link encouraging her followers to sign up to become organ donors if they are able.

Now High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale has stepped up to defend her friend, suggesting in a post on her Instagram story on Wednesday that writers "go back to school to come up with something clever and actually funny."

Charles Sykes / Bravo / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The 36-year-old wrote: "It's sad to me that when a celebrity decides to share their story, especially difficulties with their health, writers have decided to turn that into a joke in multiple shows?!

"It takes courage to come out and let people in to what you are personally going through. And in turn your making that persons journey into a joke."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.