Woman Footballer Asked To 'Twerk' Denies Being Upset By The 'Joke' Request
By Sophie Wilkinson Posted 7 days ago
The inaugural women’s entitlement to the highest footballing honour in the world, the Ballon D’or, was marred as the winner, Ada Hegerberg, was asked to twerk by the event’s co-host DJ Martin Solveig.
Hegerberg, a 23-year-old striker for Norway and Lyon, was announced as the first ever woman to win the Ballon D’or (Croatian player Lukas Modric won the men’s equivalent) and bigged up girls and women in her acceptance speech.
‘This is a huge step for women’s football,’ she told the audience at Paris’s Grand Palais, adding ‘I want to thank France Football, for letting us having this opportunity. It’s such an important thing for women’s football and together we’ll make a difference.
‘I’d like to leave with some words to young girls all over the world. Please believe in yourselves.’
At that point, DJ Martin Solveig asked Hegerberg if she could twerk. She replied ‘No’, and walked off stage. Modric hadn’t been asked the same thing, however, and many people watching in the audience looked unimpressed.
Back home, watching snippets of the interaction online, some just four seconds long, social media users have damned Solveig for being sexist. The argument goes, a man would never be asked this, so why was a woman asked? Why reduce a woman to a sexually suggestive dance move the very moment she’s won an award for her athleticism? It’s worth pointing out that each winner had been asked to dance, it’s just Ada was the only one asked to dance such a sexually suggestive move. Let’s just watch Kylian Mbappé not knowing who Solveig even is…
One particularly notable fan calling out the sexism was tennis supremo Sir Andy Murray, who wrote in an Instagram Story: ‘Another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport,’
‘Why do women still have to put up with that s**t? 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.’
Solveig has apologised for the request, uploading a video to his socials to say it: ‘comes from a distortion of my English level and my English cultural level which is obviously not enough because I didn’t mean to offend to anyone and I didn’t know that this could be seen as such an offence especially if you consider the sequence in total, when we ended up dancing on Frank Sinatra.
‘This was a joke, probably bad one and I want to apologise for anyone I may have offended, sorry about that.’
We’d like to add, the joke was in French…Solveig, 42, and co-presenting with David Ginola, repeated the ‘my apologies to anyone who may have been offended’ on his Twitter along with a picture of him and Ada doing a handshake, but one of those bro-style hand shakes that’s a bit like an arm-wrestle.
Ada later told reporters: ‘I wasn’t upset…he apologised, but I didn’t take it as that…I got to dance a bit and I got the Ballon D’or and that was in my mind, it was nothing special.’
When asked if it the moment was sexist, she said ‘I didn’t feel like that at all, to be honest, sad if people thought about the situation like that but it didn’t come to my mind at all.’
She added: ’There are a lot of other subjects to discuss if we talk about sexual matters.’
While she’s fine with it, though, she didn’t seem fine with it at the time. And it should be possible to note the pressure Ada may be under to you know, take a joke and just brush off the banter without denying her autonomy in the situation. Plus, is the story about her anymore? Is it about Solveig anymore? It’s very possible that the story is now very much about all the girls and young women and older women who’d been looking up to her as she won this prestigious award, only to see a silly joke, clearly not given enough thought, debase the whole thing and reduce her to a sexualised object.
On the plus side, Ronaldo, who has spent the past decade vying with Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or, didn’t win a thing, so there’s always a silver lining…
Update: Solveig has since released a statement apologising for the incident:
I want to publicly apologise for the misunderstanding that came from yesterdays exchange between myself & Ada during the Ballon d’Or ceremony. I acknowledge that it was in poor taste and I am deeply sorry for my mistake.
To add context to the incident, I was asked to prepare a song for each winner and would dance with each recipient after their award was presented.
The clip circulating on social media does not reflect the whole situation. Moments after I made the remark, we went on to dance together to Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me To The Moon’. The twerking comment was used in contrast to the song I had prepared for her, however, this sentiment was misunderstood and has sadly caused offense.
I immediately apologised to Ada for any potential upset I may have caused her. She has publicly addressed that she understood the context in which I made the comment.
I want to apologise again to anyone I have offended, I wish for the focus to be shifted back to celebrating Ada Hegerberg becoming the first woman to be awarded a Ballon d’Or.
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