Norwegian footballer Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural Ballon d’Or for women at this year’s annual football award given by France Football. But the award ceremony’s celebration and acknowledgment of women in football was marred by of all things – a sexist incident.
She is the first recipient of the female award 62 years after the male version of the prize was first awarded. Hegerberg, while accepting her trophy was asked by the main host and DJ Martin Solveig if she wanted to “twerk” with him. The female football player appeared embarrassed by the question but answered negatively, with a firm “no” to Solveig. He requested for another dance to which she acquiesced to.
No. Not ok. Ever.
— Leah Harding (@LeahHardingAJE) December 3, 2018
Twerking is a sexually provocative dance move done by women and hails from the 1980s music scene, which has women throwing or thrusting their hips back or shaking their buttocks, often in a low squatting stance.
Hegerberg was quoted by AP after the ceremony saying she was not upset by the request, confirming Solveig apologised afterwards, saying: "I didn't take it like that at all to be honest."
"I got to dance a bit and I got the Ballon d'Or … [the incident] was nothing special." She said she was extremely proud to be named the first female winner. “It’s incredible,” Hegerberg said. “This is a great motivation to continue working hard and we will continue to work together to win more titles. I wanted to end with some words for young girls around the world: believe in yourselves.”
Solveig immediately took to social media himself to clarify his comments, blaming language and cultural differences. "I, of course did not want to offend anyone," Solveig said. He added "This was a joke, probably a bad one." Solveig then tweeted a photo from backstage in which he is shaking hands with Hegerberg.
I explained to @AdaStolsmo the buzz and she told me she understood it was a joke. Nevertheless my apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Most importantly congratulations to Ada pic.twitter.com/DATdg0TfQk
— Martin Solveig (@martinsolveig) December 3, 2018
The incident also marks a great irony for Hegerburg, who has won three Champions League medals in a row with Lyon, but has refused to play for her national team. In a stand against perceived inequality in football, she says she will not play for her national team Norway until conditions improve for female players.