Razzies rescind special award mocking Bruce Willis

(Bruce Willis in 2020 film Hard Kill)

While the country debates over whether or not it’s socially acceptable to mock people for their medical conditions, the Golden Raspberry Awards, more commonly known as the “Razzies” came under fire for their special award category, “Worst Performance by Bruce Willis.”

Members of Bruce Willis’ family shared an Instagram post announcing that the esteemed action star would be retiring from the entertainment industry after receiving a diagnosis of aphasia, which is a condition that can inhibit a person’s ability to communicate. 

According to the New York Post’s Page 6, Willis was reportedly having cognitive issues on productions dating back to 2020, and was unable to remember his lines before his family stepped in “to take care of him.” At this point, the actor was making a series of mostly B direct to PPV videos such as American Siege, Survive the Game, Cosmic Sin and Hard Kill.

The Golden Raspberry Awards is a parody award show honoring the worst of cinematic under-achievements. Co-founded by UCLA film graduates and film industry veterans John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy, the Razzie Awards’ satirical annual ceremony has preceded its opposite, the Academy Awards, for four decades.

“Winners” have included Bill Cosby, Tom Selleck, Adam Sandler, Jared Leto, Tom Green, Ben Affleck, Will Smith, and Halle Berry for her role in 2004’s Catwoman. 

On the Razzie website, on the complete list of “winners” the category and “win” is still currently listed as 

“WORST PERFORMANCE by BRUCE WILLIS in a 2021 MOVIE  (Special 8 Title Category)

Bruce Willis / Cosmic Sin

Previous “special categories” have included “Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million”, “Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property”, “Most Flatulent Teen-Targeted Movie”, and “The Razzie Nominee So Rotten You Loved It“, just to name a few. 

The Razzie Awards found themselves in hot water when they made an insensitive tweet about Willis’ condition:

REELated: Bruce Willis retires from acting due to diagnosis

The “bang” they were referring to was Willis’ poor performances in 8 films, each having been “nominated” in the special category. 

The tweet immediately faced backlash with fans demanding that the satirical “awards” remove the category in light of the announcement of his aphasia diagnosis. 

Initially, The Golden Raspberry Awards refused to rescind the category and in a statement to TheWrap, Razzie Awards co-founders John Wilson and Mo Murphy said they “stand by” their earlier comments, re-emphasizing that they are “truly sorry to hear about Willis’ diagnosis, of which we were unaware until the story broke earlier today.”

Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they shirked it off, blaming Willis’s representatives, “Whoever handles Willis’ affairs should probably not have permitted him to do such a high volume of work in such a short time, especially if they were aware of his situation,” they continued. “In Willis’ defense, his reps should have kept a better eye on his legacy.”

In the statement, Wilson and Murphy said that the category was a one-time feature of the ceremony. “It should also be pointed out that the ‘Bruce Willis’ category was specific to 2021,” they wrote. “We never intended it to be an on-going category.”

Eventually, the Razzies decided to rescind the award, “After much thought and consideration, the Razzies have made the decision to rescind the Razzie Award given to Bruce Willis, due to his recently disclosed diagnosis,” the Razzies’ co-founders said in a statement provided to The Los Angeles Times Thursday.

The backlash forced the organization to take a look back on their past questionable decisions and they also chose to withdraw Shelley Duvall’s 1981 worst-actress nod for The Shining.

“As we recently mentioned in a Vulture Interview, extenuating circumstances also apply to Shelley Duvall in The Shining. We have since discovered that Duvall’s performance was impacted by Stanley Kubrick’s treatment of her throughout the production. We would like to take this opportunity to rescind that nomination as well,” the Razzies said in the same statement.

The 42nd annual Razzie Awards premiered March 25 on YouTube.

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Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.