The officials behind the Razzies Awards are apologizing for nominating 12-year-old “Firestarter” actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong for worst actress.
Since 1981, the group has doled out nominations for its parody award, called the Golden Raspberry Award—or "Razzies" for short— to actors, directors and screenwriters who they believed turned in the year's worst performances.
But after its nomination of Armstrong on Jan. 23 resulted in an angry uproar across the internet, John Wilson, head of the Razzies, admitted that the group had made a mistake. "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," Wilson said in a statement obtained by Deadline.
The "valid criticism" he and his colleagues received "brought our attention to how insensitive we’ve been in this instance," said Wilson. As a result, the group has removed Armstrong's name from the final ballots its voting members will receive next month ahead of this year's Razzies Awards ceremony on March 11.
"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," added Wilson.
Wilson went on to say that the outcry had caused the group to adopt new voting guidelines stating that no one under 18 can be nominated for a Razzie.
"We have never intended to bury anyone’s career ... We all make mistakes, very much us included," he said.
Armstrong isn't the first child actor to be nominated for a Razzie over the years. Jake Lloyd, who was still a child when he played young Anakin Skywalker in 1999’s “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," was nominated the same year.
Several famous actors, including Macaulay Culkin, Brooke Shields, Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff, have been nominated for Razzies before turning 18.
When Armstrong's nomination was announced earlier this week, many angry Twitter users called out the Razzies for being mean spirited.
"a little creepy for an awards body made up of adults to publicly humiliate a child," wrote one.
"Maybe it’s just me but nominating 12 year old girl for anything 'worst' feels straight-up bullying to me," wrote another user.
Yet another called the nomination of a child actor "SUPER toxic."
Others pointed out that the Razzies are a lot more fun when Hollywood stars — including Halle Berry and Sandra Bullock — poke fun at themselves by attending the group's annual ceremony to accept their awards.
"Time for the @RazzieAwards to bow out," wrote one. "There was a moment when the joke was funny and people were in on it (Bullock, Berry), but nominating a 12 year old is utterly classless and shows that the whole thing has descended into a piteous mess. Enough now."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com