Outcry as first woman Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg asked, 'Do you know to twerk?'

(Sutrishna Ghosh)

World tennis champion Andy Murray called out the blatant sexism, writing, “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."

Women may be changing the world, travelling to outer-space and achieving monumental feats but all they are asked about on international platforms is what designer they are wearing, when they plan on starting a family, and the latest – if they know how to twerk.

Ada Hegerberg, Source: Twitter

The football community’s most prestigious event, the Ballon d’Or awards turned into one such unfortunate moment for Ada Hegerberg, the Norwegian player, who became the first ever woman to be honoured with the prize on Monday.

When Ada, three-time Women’s Champions League winner, went to stage to receive the award, French DJ Martin Solveig took the conversation to a whole new level as he went on to ask her about twerking.

For the uninitiated, twerking is usually seen as a sexually-provocative dance form, made popular by popstars like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna.

To make things worse, an unsuspecting Ada was asked about twerking right after she made a fiery speech about women’s football and her hopes for the thousands of young girls watching the ceremony.

"I want to say thanks to France Football. It's a huge step for women's football. I want to end this speech with a message to all young girls in the world. Believe in yourselves,” the 23-year-old Norwegian forward said.


Sadly enough, her moving speech was followed by the distasteful question – which she responded with a firm “no” – which has since riled up football stars, fans and sports enthusiasts all over the world. And rightfully so.

As a clip of the moment started doing the rounds on social media, many viewers – from self-confessed pundits to insiders with a similar experience – came forward, and called out the “ridiculous” instance of sexism.

"Another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport,” wrote world tennis champion Andy Murray. "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."

French football writer Jeremy Smith too had a similar opinion.

“Wow – Martin Solveig asks Ada Hegerberg – who has just won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or – if she can twerk. Her reaction is as you would expect,” he tweeted.



Apart from blatant sexism, the incident also took away from Ada’s huge success, overshadowing it with the aftertaste of the “twerking” controversy. As Arsenal centre-back Louise Quinn says, "It just shows that people just come out with these questions or comments without giving it a second thought, and it must change.”

"Women's football is taking huge strides and questions and comments like this take away from those strides we have taken. Instead of the attention going to a world-class player for her talent it will all be about Solveig's question."

Clearly, this is one of those several moments where sexism reigned supreme, even when a world champion was involved.

Ada, however brushed off the drama saying she "didn't consider it sexual harassment.” Thankfully, social media users ensured she got her apology.

“Sincere apologies to the one I may have offended. My point was: I don’t invite women to twerk but dance on a Sinatra song,” the French DJ said in a Twitter statement.