Razzie awards remove 12-year-old from worst actress category after backlash

<span>Photograph: Ken Woroner/AP</span>
Photograph: Ken Woroner/AP

The organisers of the Razzie awards have removed the 12-year-old actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong from the worst actress category after backlash.

The young actor, also known from Black Widow and The Tomorrow War, was included in the annual list of worst of the year nominees for her performance in the thriller Firestarter, a remake of the Stephen King adaptation starring Drew Barrymore. Armstrong was 11 at the time of filming.

“Sometimes, you do things without thinking,” John Wilson, head of the group who puts on the awards, said in a statement. “Then you are called out for it. Then you get it. It’s why the Razzies were created in the first place.”

The announcement led to widespread criticism earlier this week, which Wilson has called “valid” and the original decision “insensitive”. He said that in future a new rule will mean that no one under 18 can be nominated.

“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,” he said. He also added that the group has “never intended to bury anyone’s career”.

Earlier this week, Wilson had defended the decision to BuzzFeed, stating that Armstrong was “an experienced actress, even if she’s only 12” and that the reaction was “interesting” but “overblown”.

Armstrong was nominated alongside Bryce Dallas Howard, Diane Keaton, Kaya Scodelario and Alicia Silverstone. The Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde led the way with eight nominations.

The organisers have previously nominated child actors, including Jake Lloyd for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Macaulay Culkin for three performances in 1995.

Last year, the category of worst performance by Bruce Willis was rescinded after it was revealed that the actor has aphasia.