What should’ve been the best moment of Ada Hegerberg’s soccer career so far quickly devolved into an embarrassing blip. Thankfully, though, the Twitterverse came to her rescue.
The 23-year-old Norwegian athlete — who also plays for French club Lyon, which won the Women’s Champions League last season — was awarded the first-ever Women’s Ballon d’Or award Monday night in Paris. After she received the trophy, the event co-host, DJ Martin Solveig, asked her to twerk.
Hegerberg declined, looking visibly uncomfortable, according to footage obtained by The Guardian. In response, many people in the audience, mostly made up of men, looked shocked. However, before walking off the stage, the woman of honor agreed to dance briefly with the DJ to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” for a few seconds, NBC News reported.
Fans of female soccer were none too pleased about the bizarre request.
“This is the crap female athletes deal with on a daily basis around the world,” tweeted sportswriter Grant Wahl about the incident.
“Shocking and find it odd some people find it funny. Isn’t in the slightest. Definitely some inequality in football,” wrote another fan.
“What kind of question is this? And why are these guys laughing? This is disgusting, I’m so sorry for Ada Hegerberg,” commented a third.
Following the backlash, Solveig apologized in a video on his Twitter account.
“Sincere apologies to the one I may have offended,” he wrote alongside it. “My point was: I don’t invite women to twerk but dance on a Sinatra song. Watch the full sequence People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women.”
In a follow-up statement, the “Hello” musician added, “I acknowledge that it was in poor taste and I am deeply sorry for my mistake,” before explaining that his reference to twerking was a joke.
“I was asked to prepare a song for each winner and would dance with each recipient after their award was presented,” he continued. “The clip circulating on social media does not reflect the whole situation … The twerking comment was used in contrast to the song I had prepared for her.”
He also posted a picture of the pair shaking hands after the ceremony.
Hegerberg, on the other hand, didn’t acknowledge the gaffe on social media.
Afterward, she simply shared a photo of herself beaming as she holds up her prize. “WHAT A NIGHT,” she wrote, punctuating it with the star emoji.