Wed, Dec 05, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Furor over Ballon d’Or twerk request

TORRENT OF COMPLAINTS:British tennis player Andy Murray led the backlash when he thundered: ‘Why do women still have to put up with that shit?’ on Instagram

AFP, PARIS

Olympique Lyonnais Feminin’s Ada Hegerberg, right, stands next to French DJ Martin Solveig after receiving the women’s Ballon d’Or at the Grand Palais in Paris on Monday.

Photo: AFP

French DJ Martin Solveig on Monday apologized and said he was taken aback by the stormy reaction online after he asked the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg whether she could “twerk” live on stage.

The awards cohost in Paris provoked a torrent of complaints about sexism with his question about the sexually suggestive dance, which received a blunt “No” from the unamused Norwegian striker.

The incident was a major talking point despite Hegerberg’s achievement in becoming the first winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or, an award which has been handed to male players since 1956.

Solveig, a musician and radio host, apologized in person to Hegerberg and said he was “astonished” at the reaction.

“Guys I’m a little bit amazed, astonished by what I’m reading on the Internet,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “Of course I didn’t want to offend anyone... This was a joke, probably a bad one and I want to apologize for the one I may have offended.”

As footage of the incident went viral, British tennis player Andy Murray led the backlash when he thundered: “Why do women still have to put up with that shit?”

“What questions did they ask [Kylian] Mbappe and [Luka] Modric?” he posted on Instagram, referring to the winners of the Kopa Trophy for the best young player and the men’s Ballon d’Or respectively. “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.”

Hegerberg, 23, whose goals propelled Olympique Lyonnais Feminin to a record fifth UEFA Champions League titlen, played down the controversy and said it had not marred her evening.

“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,” Hegerberg said after the show. “He came to see me after and apologized. The Ballon d’Or is the most important thing.”

Modric saw off competition from a host of French World Cup stars as the Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder won the men’s Ballon d’Or, ending the 10-year stranglehold on the award by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo was second, with France and Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann completing the podium.

“As a kid we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies,” Modric said. “The Ballon d’Or was more than just a dream for me, and it is really an honor and a privilege to hold this trophy.”

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