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Razzie Awards Apologize And Withdraw Nomination For 'Firestarter' Child Actor After Backlash

After calling the outrage 'overblown,' Razzies cofounder John Wilson decided to take 12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong off the final ballot for 'Worst Actress.'

Ryan Kiera Armstrong
Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images

Recent backlash prompted the Golden Raspberry Awards—a.k.a. the Razzies—to make some changes to their policies regarding nominees, effective not soon enough.

The Razzies—which "honor" the worst of films and performers at the height of awards season—nominated child actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong for Worst Actress for her performance in Firestarter, a sci-fi horror film based on the Stephen King book by the same name.

Armstrong is 12 years old and was only 11 at the time of filming.

As soon as the names of nominees were released, the masses—fans and fellow actors alike—called out the Razzies for going too far with Armstrong's nomination.

The movie itself was not a box office success, but that is no fault of Armstrong's.

Initially, Razzies cofounder John Wilson told BuzzFeed News about 1,100 voting members put Armstrong in fifth place. While they debated the inclusion of Armstrong on the ballot, they decided to respect the decision of the voters.

"I can see how it could be taken [as mean]. I don't think that was how it was meant."
"I think people who get upset about it—I don't even know how to say this. The rage is interesting—perhaps somewhat justified, but I think overblown."

While Wilson stated that the outrage connected to Armstrong's nomination is "overblown," he did admit that perhaps they "misstepped."

"There's a righteousness about it. It's the Razzie Awards, for goodness' sake!"
"The intent was to be funny. In this particular instance, we seem to have misstepped very badly."
"I would admit that."

Late Tuesday night, however, it seems the Razzies had a change of heart.

They tweeted:

"In light of feedback (which we've come to agree with) the @RazzieAwards will not be including Ryan Kiera Armstrong on the final voting ballot."

They also tagged former child actor Devon Sawa who called the nomination "soulless."

On Wednesday, Wilson emailed a statement to BuzzFeed News apologizing to Armstrong and once again acknowledging that her name will be removed from the ballot.

He wrote:

"Sometimes, you do things without thinking. Then you are called out for it. Then you get it."
"It's why the Razzies were created in the first place."
"The recent valid criticism of the choice of 11 year old Armstrong as a nominee for one of our awards brought our attention to how insensitive we've been in this instance."

To Armstrong, Wilson shared:

"We also believe a public apology is owed Ms. Armstrong, and wish to say we regret any hurt she experienced as a result of our choices."

While many on Twitter are contented that Armstrong will not be included in the vote, they believe that the Razzies shouldn't exist at all and provide more harm than entertainment.

A few appreciated the apology and applauded the Razzies for owning up to their mistake.

And many once again noted Armstrong's performance was solid for the material she had to work with.

In light of the controversy, Wilson stated in future, performers or filmmakers under the age of 18 will not be eligible for a nomination.

He finished his statement:

"Since our motto is 'Own Your Bad,' we realize that we ourselves must also live up to it."

This is a step in the right direction.