WASHINGTON — Eccentric pop diva Lady Gaga took her anti-bullying campaign to the White House where she was lauded as a source of strength for many young people who are scared at school.
Her visit follows a White House bullying conference earlier this year, called to mitigate the plight of nearly a third of US schoolchildren, or 13 million students, who are bullied each year, according to official figures.
President Barack Obama was away making a major speech on the economy in Kansas, but Lady Gaga was welcomed to the White House by Valerie Jarrett, one of his most senior political advisers.
“Lady Gaga has described this cause as a personal one — she has said that as a child, she was often picked on for being different,” Jarrett said in a White House blog post.
“I am deeply moved by the way she has used her story, and her success, to inspire young people, and shine the spotlight on important issues.
“Over the last three years, we have seen that when we work together on behalf of human rights, we can accomplish truly amazing things, yet too many young people still remain at risk.”
The “Bad Romance” singer has linked up with the MacArthur Foundation and Harvard University to launch the Born This Way Foundation, which will explore ways to enhance the safety of children at school.
Obama encountered an extravagantly dressed Lady Gaga during a fundraising event in California in September, and ABC News said she brought up bullying with the president during a closed question and answer session.
Lady Gaga told fans in September that she would bring up the case of a 14-year-old New York boy Jamie Rodemeyer, who committed suicide after complaining in an online video that he had been bullied.