The Razzie Awards have introduced an age limit for nominations following backlash after 12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong (pictured above) was nominated for worst actress.
In a statement, Razzies founder John Wilson apologized and confirmed that Armstrong’s name has been removed from the ballot. He also said that henceforth under-18s would not be eligible to be nominated for the awards.
There was strong criticism after the Razzies – which celebrate the year’s “worst” performances and films – nominated Armstrong for her performance in “Firestarter”. The film, which also stars Zac Efron, carries the log line: “A young girl tries to understand how she mysteriously gained the power to set things on fire with her mind.” Efron wasn’t nominated, though the film itself scored a nod for Worst Remake/Rip-off/Sequel.
Among those who criticized the decision to nominate Armstrong was former child actor Devon Sawa, who reportedly tweeted: “The Razzies are run by soulless people. Nominating a 12 year old? F**k them. That kid could grow up to be great if you haven’t gotten into their heads.” (Sawa appears to have deleted his tweet.)
And co-star Julian Hilliard, who has appeared in “WandaVision” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” also backed Armstrong, writing: “The razzies are already vicious and classless, but to nominate a child is just disgusting & wrong. Why subject a child to increased bullying or worse? Be better.”
In a statement, Wilson called the criticism “valid” and said Armstrong’s name had been removed from the ballot. He added: “We also believe that a public apology is owed to Ms. Armstrong, and we would like to say that we are sorry for any harm she has experienced as a result of our choice.”
Read the full statement below:
Sometimes you do things without thinking, then you are called out for it. Then you get it. That’s why the Razzies were created in the first place.
The recent valid criticism of the selection of 11-year-old Armstrong as a nominee for one of our awards made us aware of how insensitive we have been in this case. As a result, we have removed Armstrong’s name from the final ballot that our members will cast next month. We also believe that a public apology is owed to Ms. Armstrong, and we want to say that we apologize for any harm she experienced as a result of our choice.
Having learned from this lesson, we would also like to announce that from this point forward we are adopting a voting policy that excludes any performer or filmmaker under the age of 18 from being considered for our awards.
We never intended to bury anyone’s career. That’s why our Redeemer Award was created. We all make mistakes, mostly ourselves.
Since our motto is “Own Your Bad”, we realize that we have to live up to it ourselves.
John Wilson, The Razzie Awards