Martin Solveig Apologizes For Asking Female Soccer Player To Twerk While Accepting Award

For years, the magazine France Football has been doling out its Ballon d’Or award to the best men’s soccer player in the world. For the first half of this decade, the Ballon d’Or (French for Golden Ball) became an official partnership with FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, but FIFA has gone back to doing its own award recently. Still, most fans around the world lend the Ballon d’Or a lot of credence. It’s a big deal.

This year, for the first time, France Football awarded a women’s version of the Ballon d’Or. Alongside male winner Luka Modric of Croatia, who plays his club ball for Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, the inaugural women’s award went to Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg of the French club Olympique Lyonnais. But any pretense of social progress upon the advent of a women’s award went out the window at Monday’s ceremony when French DJ Martin Solveig asked Hegerberg to twerk while presenting her with her Ballon d’Or.

After Hegerberg took the stage and raised her trophy triumphantly, Solveig interviewed her briefly. At one point he asked, in French, “Can you twerk?” A mortified Hegerberg immediately told him no and walked toward the back of the stage for a moment to regain her composure. It’s painful to watch, but here goes:

Today, Solveig has posted an apology for the twerk incident. “I acknowledge that it was in poor taste and I am deeply sorry for my mistake,” he writes. He also characterizes the incident as a “misunderstanding” and attempts to explain his reasoning, noting that he was asked to prepare a song for each winner and that he thought it was ironic to ask someone to twerk to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon.” He also claims the video clips that went viral do not provide the necessary context for understanding the joke. Guys, sometimes (often) it’s best to just say you’re sorry without trying to flip your apology into a stealth self-defense.

You can read Solveig’s full statement below.