Ballon d’Or ‘twerk’ storm: Ada Hegerberg shuts down Martin Solveig as social media users slam ‘ridiculous sexism’
- Norwegian striker dismisses award ceremony host’s awkward request
- French DJ apologises for ‘bad joke’ amid accusations of ‘ridiculous sexism’
A French DJ has been accused of “ridiculous sexism” after asking the first woman to win football’s most prestigious prize if she would “twerk”.
Norway’s Ada Hegerberg picked up the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or at Monday’s ceremony in Paris after a stunning season for French side Lyon, whom she helped to a third successive Champions League title.
But she then looked embarrassed when asked if she could perform a sexually provocative dance by Martin Solveig, who was host for the glitzy evening at the Grand Palais.
The 23-year-old replied “Non” in French, with a clip of the awkward exchange quickly racking up millions of views on Twitter.
Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg, first female Ballon D'Or winner after scoring over 250 career goals at the age 23, asked to twerk on stage in front of footballing giants and the public watching. Disgusting and really ruined her moment she deserved. Poor. pic.twitter.com/FSz0ozz2T4
— Sean (@SeanWalkerSport) December 3, 2018
France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe – who was awarded young player of the year – reacted with a stunned facial expression in the crowd.
Solveig later apologised for the incident. “I didn’t know this could be such as such an offense,” he tweeted. “This was a joke, probably a bad one.”
Hegerberg said she was not offended by the question, and revealed Solveig had also come to see her to personally say sorry.
“I wasn’t upset,” she said. “I got to dance a bit and I got the Ballon d’Or.”
“The Ballon d’Or is the most important thing,” she added. “I am touched and very proud, for women’s football, for myself, for the club.”
The Norwegian said she did not feel the occasion was marred by Solveig’s strange request.
“I didn’t feel it was like that at all to be honest and I am sad if people thought about the situation like that,” she said.
Last season, Hegerberg scored 32 league goals as Lyon won their 12th successive title and 15 goals in the Champions League.
She has already got 16 goals in 12 games across all competitions this season, with many social media users – including prominent sports figures – saying her achievements should have been the focus on Monday night.
“Another example of the ridiculous sexism that stull exists in sport,” British tennis star Andy Murray wrote on his Instagram story.
“Why do women still have to put up with that s***? What questions did they ask Mbappe and Modric? I’d imagine something to do with football.
“And to everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke. It wasn’t. I’ve been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal.”
Football blogger Sean Walker wrote on Twitter: “Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg, first female Ballon d’Or winner after scoring over 250 career goals at the age 23, asked to twerk on stage in front of footballing giants and the public watching. Disgusting and really ruined her moment she deserved. Poor.”
Football writer RJ Allen said: “One of these people is highly accomplished in their field and respected all over the world. The other is Martin Solveig. He is lucky Ada Hegerberg didn’t kick him toward a goal.”
At the age of 23 Ada Hegerberg has almost 300 career goals, countless domestic and European medals with Lyon and has achieved almost everything in her young career. Remember the achievements and not the idiot who asked her to twerk tonight. pic.twitter.com/t2a2zmiyqy
— Joanne (@JoanneOR_Ox) December 3, 2018
“Disgusting what happened with Hegerberg at the Ballon d’Or and it’s vital the vile attitude and mindset is stamped out across the globe,” Welsh FA media executive Owain Harries wrote.
Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl tweeted: “Love her [Hegerberg’s] response. This is the c**p female athletes deal with on a daily basis around the world.”
Hegerberg later joined men’s winner Luka Modric of Croatia and Mbappe on stage with their trophies.
“I share this with Olympique Lyonnais, my teammates, the staff,” she said. “It’s historic, it’s incredible, a great day for women’s football and a big step forward.”
One of seven Lyon players among the 15 nominees, Hegerberg has drawn comparisons to five-time male Ballon d’Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for her goalscoring exploits.
“I think the fact I scored 54 goals last season and 53 goals this year – it’s a lot of goals in one year,” she said. “I know it’s difficult to score 50 goals every season. It is a challenge. That is where I set the bar.”