Lady Gaga Attends Obama Fundraiser in Silicon Valley, Questions President About Anti-Bullying Policies

Days after vowing she would meet with the President over the bullying suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, Lady Gaga paid to attend a $35,800 per couple fundraiser at the home of Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg last night, according to a White House press pool report:

Gaga At 8pm pool was brought through the house, where Poker Face by Lady Gaga was playing, and into a white party tent set up in the back of the house. There were 7 large round tables – three on each side and one square in the middle in front of a small open space with an American and California state flag set up, where President Obama spoke.

At 8:03 pm Lady Gaga entered… delicately walking on sky-high heels (she towered over everyone, a good 2 feet taller than POTUS). She was wearing a floor-length sleeveless lacey black dress, her blonde hair was gathered in a bouffant up-do adorned with a black hair piece with a black veil down the back, which she swept to the side and in front of her left shoulder. (The hair added about 6 inches to her stature). She took a seat at the middle table in the tent and stood up with the other guests when POTUS entered a few minutes later.

Event was print pool only so no press photos.

POTUS spoke for about 8 minutes, with Lady Gaga sitting front and center. And although he never acknowledged her obvious presence, it seems likely the two crossed paths during greetings inside the house before the dinner.

ABC News has more:

According to a source present in the tent fundraiser, Gaga asked a question during the Q&A. She first thanked the president for what he’s accomplished, then read from what she said was a letter from a fan about the suicide of another fan who had been subjected to bullying. She thanked Obama for hosting his anti-bullying conference with Michelle Obama, and then made a general plea to everyone in the room, including the president, to do what they can to prevent bullying. Obama thanked her, spoke about his administration’s anti-bullying campaign, and then more generally about the importance of values and who we are as Americans. Before the dinner, Gaga came through the photo line with her manager. She and Obama reportedly spoke for two minutes, with many others in the room.

Gaga dedicated a performance of "Hair" to Rodemeyer over the weekend at an IHeartRadio concert. Watch the performance, in which she notes "bullying is for losers", HERE.


  1. Married in MA says

    @ EW – Appropriate handle.

    She talks the talk, but also walks the walk. If you think she is phony, you’re welcome to your opinion. But as a pop star, she’s done more that anyone to support LGBT causes.

    I would have loved to have seen that entrance! Thank you Gaga!

  2. bruce says

    I think it’s commendable that Lady Gaga appeared at this function to take up the cause of fighting anti-gay bullying. Highly commendable, in fact. I doubt there are any other female music performers who would do this – not Rihanna, not Britney, not Kesha, not Beyonce.

  3. JWL says

    I dont understand all the Gaga hate. Can someone explain why so many hate our biggest allies? Arguably THE biggest star right now is on OUR side. She does not need us for publicity. She is giving us her publicity. Do you understand this concept EW? WE are not giving HER anything. SHE is giving her publicity to OUR CAUSES. Let me know when you finally understand this. She is taking her media capital and spending it on us, instead of promoting something else. If assholes like EW spent as much time crucifying our REAL enemies as they do coming up with snide things to say about our heroes then we’d accomplish a lot more. Ever heard of Maggie Gallagher, EW? She hates you. Go come up with something to do about her and quit giving Gaga a hard time.

  4. luke says

    Geez are people really so cynical that they can’t believe that someone in state of power/influence would actually try to make the world a better place…

    and really if Gaga wanted publicity she could get a reality TV show or a Magazine cover -> but NO she took time out of her life (and $$$) to fight for bullying victims

  5. jason says

    The problem is that Obama is not pro-gay. His response to Lady Gaga was a mere platitude and nothing of any substance. Obama has been a huge disappointment on gay rights. On DADT repeal, he had to be dragged kicking and screaming into supporting it.

  6. Polyboy says

    Sorry Jason, you cannot name a President who has done more for the gay community under his watch than Obama and given the state of politics, he will be the last because people like you cannot be bothered to read beyond the news bites.

  7. Gregoire says

    Obama may not be ‘pro-gay’ enough for your liking, but he is more gay supportive than any other person running for president at the moment (excepting no-chance Fred Karger, and even that’s arguable).

  8. says

    @Johnson: Only a Republican would wish for someone’s death.
    Were you at the debates cheering for the death of the dying unemployed man too? Or perhaps you were one of those who booed the gay American soldier serving in Iraq?
    You disgust me.

  9. Anonymous says

    @Gregoire: That includes Karger, who wants the issue of gay marriage to be left up to the states (which effectively makes it an impossibility in places like the deep South).

  10. RIck says

    “I dont understand all the Gaga hate. Can someone explain why so many hate our biggest allies?”

    Because some of us are as sick and tired of straight women presuming to represent us and speak for us (regardless of how well-meaning they may be) as we are of those of you who live your lives vicariously through them, bow at their feet, and docilely follow them, even when they insult us with lines like “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen”.

    It is time for gay men to stop hiding behind women’s skirts, speak for ourselves–with some courage, open a dialogue with straight men, and really solve the problem of homophobia in the context of the overall male culture.

    That is the only thing that will bring about real change in the long run.

    Of course, you have to have a truly male identity to begin with to do that, which is obviously a challenge for a great many of you.

  11. BEAHBEAH says

    I have no problems with Gaga’s activism. There’s no doubt in my mind that she is genuinely supportive of our community and our cause. And I agree, she puts her money where her mouth is every time. Don’t understand the hate directed towards her in that aspect.

    All that said… too bad her music is complete trash.

  12. Married in MA says

    @ Johnson – A fading star? Yeah, right… she’s going to around for a long time. Same people said that about Madonna in the eighties. She’s still kicking.

    BTW this was not a photo op for Gaga. There were no cameras, no video… and it cost her over $35K. Have you done as much?

  13. luminum says

    Was the president expected to take her seriously in her get up? Or was it “Lady Gaga Goes to Washington” instead of “Stephanie Germinotta Talks About Bullying”?

    Good for her for going, and paying a drop in the ocean of the millions she makes from her fans to attend, but it doesn’t sound like she really caught his ear. And quite frankly, I doubt it’s her fault, since it doesn’t seem like the kind of event where anyone but the President is going to have much say about the issue, pop star or otherwise.

    I also think it’s great that fans are so defensive that they react with arguments that suggest that gaga’s contributions outweigh the contributions that people who don’t make millions of dollars each year are able to put in. Is Gaga picking up the phone and sitting all night in case kids decide to call the crisis line? Nope. But apparently that means so much less than her stage theatrics and a 15-minute production of a song. Is she the one doing intakes on kids who end up in crisis centers? Nope. But apparently it’s not as important has her high profile and reportedly ineffective visit to a POTUS conference dinner, which blasts work like that out of the water.

    It’s also pathetic that the other argument is that people who criticize Gaga’s all-consuming stage persona and her investigate her sincerity AREN’T also criticizing anti-gay figures. How absurd and specious. Maybe those people should join FOX News, since they seem just as willing to lob a “if you’re criticizing America, why aren’t you criticizing terrorists” argument just as much as Monsters seem to like throwing around the “if you’re criticizing Gaga, why aren’t your criticizing Maggie Ghallagher” dribble.

    What Gaga does is important from where she is (far removed with only the internet to connect her directly to fanbase), but it’s sad that her fans defend her contributions by ignoring the reality of her privilege and resources and denigrating the work that happens on the ground by people who aren’t in Mugler corsets and McQueen hoof heels. Those are the people who really do the work for kids in crisis, outside of their 9 – 5 jobs, and who will never develop a drooling fanbase of gay men willing to throw $150+ to see them or thank them. From her fans’ defensive arguments, you would think that every volunteer should just pack it up because they’ll never send a message that reaches millions of people on Twitter. Who are they, picking up the phone and talking a kid down, when Gaga can make a lukewarm anthem in 15 minutes and be celebrated as the REAL hero for our community. Have her many screaming fans taken the time to stop at a local crisis line, shelter, or LGBT center and thank one of those people, let alone offer their own time?

    Instead, those fans will be just as likely to NOT join an organization like PFLAG, Trevor Project, Ruth Ellis, True Colors, NSPL, or SPEAK UP. And can you imagine what would happen if this drooling fanbase decided that instead of throwing their money at Gaga, they would donate that $150 to one of those groups? But their time is better spent clubbing and drinking and partying to the latest Gaga single than volunteering or donating. Thankfully for them, listening to “Born This Way” allows everyone to FEEL as though they’re contributing, even if they’re not. Meanwhile, shelters and centers for gay youth shut down from a lack of funding. The number of beds for youth in homeless shelters reduces. One less person picks up the phone when a kid on the verge of suicide calls late at night. In fact, in Michigan, Ruth Ellis Center struggles every year to have the resources and staff to support homeless LGBT youth of color. In Atlanta, there isn’t even a city LGBT center for kids to go. Thank God that Youth Pride exists, because gay kids under 21 would have nowhere else to go in a community concerned primarily with gay bars and high-priced VIP pride parties.

    Lady Gaga may be doing her part, but I have to wonder what sort contributions many of her rabid fans are making while they broach of the topic of her detractors’ supposed inactivity? It’s good to ask what EW is doing, but really, what have YOU done? Giving your money to Gaga doesn’t count as giving back to a community that needs you.

  14. Boone says

    Rodemeyer was a fan of Gaga and he directly referred to her before he killed himself. THAT is why she spent $35,000 for two minutes with President Obama. Get over your bitchy selves. It wasn’t for you, it was for Jamey Rodemeyer.

  15. RIck says

    @Derrrick Tell me, Derrick, how would you feel about a white man presuming to speak for and represent African-Americans, recording an “anthem” for you without your consent, and including a line n it like “Don’t be a dropout, just be an unemployed thug”?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought….

  16. says

    and you know, Luminum, your essay of excuses only proves me right.

    we get it. you choose to dislike Gaga. doesn’t make you noble, nor a unique rebel.

    it makes you just like every other tired-ass homosexual who needs to dislike what they feel everyone else likes in order to feel special.

    newsflash – you’re not special.

  17. Alex N says

    When Lady Gaga can find her voice without the constant visual circus and distraction, she will probably have grown up and will finally understand, hopefully along with her fans, that the seriousness of the issues she is supposedly passionate about deserves the respect that a serious person might give them. Paying to gain access to the President in a clown outfit and then making another of her adolescent pleas where it is inappropriate and disrespectful only further reveals her lack of true self-empowerment. It isn’t her fault that she is young, but it certainly makes you wonder why she is given such credence by some and seen as a joke by so many others. While I respect her desire to show she is moved by her fans, I think it is misguided and naive to demand anti-bullying laws. It would be impossible to legislate. Instead we should focus our attention on providing more psychological counseling to children and adolescents free from political and religious agendas, and demand that our government respect the separation of Church and State as per the founding laws of our country, thus allowing for a truly serious national conversation that might help to empower our Youth independent of fluffy pop, even if it is enjoyable or a beacon of hope to those caught in the dark.

  18. Derrick from Philly says

    “Tell me, Derrick, how would you feel about a white man presuming to speak for and represent African-Americans, recording an “anthem” for you without your consent, and including a line n it like “Don’t be a dropout, just be an unemployed thug”?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought….”

    As long as it’s Teena Marie singing–it’s all right with me.

  19. Danny says

    @Rick The obvious problem with your offensive comparison is that you’re equating being a “queen” with being a “thug”. It’s a little something called misogyny, look it up.

    Clearly there is some major internalized homophobia going on or else you wouldn’t have a problem with gay men embracing their femininity. The amount of hate towards gay men (and their allies) continues to amaze me–even when it’s self hate like yours.

  20. Rowan says

    Little Kiwi

    He still has a point. And you have proved him right….


    I rarely agree with Rick but he is spot on with this. Why is it always these bitchy egotistical pop stars who always have to represent the gay community? Very odd.

  21. RIck says

    “@Rick The obvious problem with your offensive comparison is that you’re equating being a “queen” with being a “thug”. It’s a little something called misogyny, look it up”

    This is what I meant when I made the reference to so many of you lacking a truly male identity. Your use of “misogyny” demonstrates that you basically think of yourself as a woman rather than as a man……which, in turn, explains why you live vicariously through women like Lady Gaga.

    And you cannot distinguish between homosexuality and femininity–again a demonstration of your damaged psychological state.

    We will call this “Exhibit A”.

    And as far as most of society is concerned (you know the mainstream where you don’t reside), being a queen IS worse than being a thug. At least a thug commands a modicum of respect, if only in the form of fear of violence on the part of those encountering him. But nobody respects a queen…..NOBODY (including themselves and each, other, by the way, as evidenced by their lustfulness towards masculine men and ONLY masculine men).

  22. TJ says

    You know, I’ve never seen, or had the desire to attend, a Lady Gaga concert. But I know people who have, and who have been very impressed with how gay ( and diversity)-positive she is. Are they manipulated? I don’t know. But if they believe in her sincerity, and assimilate (and promote) the message, does it really matter whether she is sincere or manipulative? Her fans don’t care if she is a clown or immature or unskilled. She seems (to many) to want to use her celebrity for good. Duped or not, some people find her inspirational, and may pay it forward. What is wrong with that?

  23. TJ says

    “Your use of misogyny demonstrates that you basically think of yourself as a woman”

    Or, it might be the sign of intelligence, enlightenment, and empathy. Qualities some people on this board seem to lack – in spades.

  24. says

    RICK complains nonstop about “femme gays” and how “bad we make gays look” yet he also insists that gay people don’t “HAVE” to Come Out.

    so he proves me right. he’s angry that “femme gays” have the courage to be Out, and Live Out, while his ass is still cowardly hoping to “pass for white” and he defends that cowardice.

    you can’t complain about a lack of “masc gay role models” in the same breath that you say “we dont’ need to come out, it’s our right to a personal life”

    yeah. it’s your right to be a coward. but you can’t complain, from inside the closet, about how others who are Out are living.


  25. TJ says

    Why should straight people speak up for gay people, or men speak up for women, or white people speak up for African Americans? Basic Social Psychology. Gay people, women, African Americans, etc. would be expected to speak up for themselves. Their expected self-interest makes the validity of their arguments somewhat suspect – of course you are going to say that, you have something to gain.

    When those not of the group, and who have more perceived power and thus more to lose by sharing that power, speak up for the rights of others, it validates the other groups right to respect and power. Well, if he is so willing to give up power, there must be something to this point of view.

    Unless of course you see giving up power as a sign of weakness and are afraid that validating others somehow invalidates you.

  26. says

    What are you dunces complaining about? Lady Gaga doesn’t “HAVE” to do anything – she’s CHOOSING to be a Visible and Vocal advocate for LGBT Equality.

    Why be mad at her? Why not be angry at the legions of men you would feel are “more acceptable” who are choosing NOT to be as visible and vocal about LGBT Equality?

    it’s not as if two openly-gay professional football players couldn’t attend because Lady Gaga took their seats.

    This is something that she cares about, and you losers are angry at her for it? It’s not her fault that the men you think should be our Advocates are choosing to sit back and do nothing.

    Rowan, Rick, it’s no wonder your fathers didn’t want to have you as sons. it’s not because you’re gay, but because you’re both such wimpy little doormats about it.

    grow a pair.

  27. RIck says

    @Kiwi I normally don’t bother to respond to you because it is apparent to me that you are not entirely psychologically healthy, even beyond the issues I have already raised here, and one cannot reason with such people, but in this instance I am going to respond, because I think the question of why mainstream gays almost all stay in the closet is an issue worth exploring.

    Tell me, why is it that you think there are NO major Hollywood actors out of the closet–, NO corporate executives, NO professional athletes, and only 4 members of Congress, one of who was outed by scandal? No governors, no Senators, and until recently, not even anybody of significance in the news media. For that matter, how many openly gay university or college presidents are there, academia being the most politically-correct leftward-leaning segment of society? Hardly any there either. Really very few people of any significance in any field in which visibility is high.

    Are ALL the gay people in these positions “cowards”, including the progressives and Democrats among them? Are all of them “self-haters”? Are all of them ashamed of who they are? Do you really believe that to be the case in the year 2011?

    I dare say that very few of them could be fairly characterized as any of the above.

    And so the answer to why they all stay in the closet must lie elsewhere, mustn’t it?

    Perhaps what causes them to not want to do so is the embarrassment they would feel, not at revealing their sexual orientation, per se, but at associating themselves with a gay culture that has become so out-of-the-mainstream that it really does not represent what they, themselves, are all about. And because they are often the recipients of hostility (as I so often am on this site) for rejecting that culture and the anti-masculinity mindset it projects.

    Have you ever allowed yourselves outside your little ideological boxes to even consider that possibility?

  28. says

    Rick, because you guys never grew a pair. You still think you can only command respect by Passing For Straght.

    Here’s the reality – you’re not fooling anyone. They can all tell that you’re gay, but they can also tell that you’re utterly insecure about it – remember that nobody is “vague” about their heterosexuality.

    You think people don’t know you’re gay/ They know. They don’t mention it because it’s obvious how much you don’t WANT them to know.

    If you were actually masculine and confident you’d be Out.

    You’re none of the above.

    You’re blaming “femmy gays” for “masculine gays” not wanting to Come Out?

    That’s just COWARDICE.

    Blaming others for having the strength to do something that yourself too much of a coward to do.

    I’ve been fully Out since i was a TEEN.

    There are openly gay hollywood actors. and athletes. and executives. not a lot, but they exist.

    they’re the vanguards. there are always going to be legions of cowards like you who simply aren’t man enough to do it, and then you blame it one “stereotypical femmy queens.”

    If you were half the man you claim to be you’d be fully Out. alas, you’re just sitting their complaining with your balls in the closet.

    we get it. your dad resented having to call you “Son” and you blame femme gays for it. it’s not the fault of Harvey Fierstein that your father is a bigot, nor that you never had the balls to defy him.

  29. Christian says

    SIGH. I was really hoping she would dress appropriately for this event, but sadly, I was wrong. I don’t doubt her good intentions with attending this event and speaking out, but dressing like a total a**hole tends to undermine your message. She doesn’t strike me as someone who is very self-aware (more like self-obsessed!).

  30. Joseph S says

    I think it’s wonderful that Lady Gaga is trying to fix this problem. We need someone as influential as her to get the point across. Hopefully things will get done.

  31. Paul R says

    It’s really sad to see such stupidity and hate expressed here. Who gives a crap how she was dressed? You read a description, and didn’t see a picture. And you know what? She’s a fashion-obsessed pop star who wears couture and designs from her own team of designers.

    Did it ever occur to you that a woman standing tall is a form of empowerment? Why should she dress like a nun if she wants to dress however she likes, no matter the venue? Isn’t being gay at least partly about individuality and, more important, freedom to do whatever you like—whatever makes you happy? The kids who have killed themselves after being bullied, to a one, were acting like themselves and following their instincts. For that they were terrorized by their peers and often by authority figures. Let people be themselves and stop attacking (bullying) them for it. These kids were out of the closet, and for that they were driven to destroy themselves. Why not celebrate the fact that we’re all different?

    That’s Gaga’s message. Be yourself. If you’re too scared to do that, then at least don’t tear down other people for having the courage to do it.

    And please, EVERYONE, stop responding to Jason/Rick (the same person). He is a bitter, sad little person who simply likes attention, and will say anything to get it.

  32. TJ says

    PAUL R : I celebrate alongside you. But just know that the idea of different = okay is hard for many, if not most, to swallow. It’s an upward climb and a paradigm shift.

    And your comment about standing tall really made me stop and think. If intentional, in the way you describe, brilliant. If an outcome of projection, then good still pays forward.

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