Joe Biden, Lady Gaga turn Oscars into anti-rape rally

Lady Gaga sings her Oscar-nominated song Till It Happens to You at the 88th Academy Awards, on Feb 28, 2016.
Lady Gaga sings her Oscar-nominated song Till It Happens to You at the 88th Academy Awards, on Feb 28, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Lady Gaga on Sunday led the Oscars in a rally against campus sexual assault, bringing together rape survivors who joined arms in solidarity.

The pop star, who recently has spoken out about being raped as a teenager, was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden who personally took part in Hollywood's biggest night to lend his voice to the cause.

Gaga, singing to a piano and occasionally stretching her arms out with emotion, performed Till It Happens To You which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Song for The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape on campus.

As she neared the end of the song, dozens of young women with the occasional young man took the stage together with slogans handwritten on their arms that included Not At All Your Fault and Unbreakable.

Mr Biden, introducing Lady Gaga whom he described as "courageous" and a friend, urged artists and viewers to join him in signing an online pledge, found at itsonus.org, to promise to fight against sexual assault.

The pledge commits to "intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given" for sex. "Despite significant progress over the last few years, too many women and men on and off college campuses are still victims of sexual abuse," he said.

"We must and we can change the culture, so that no abused woman or man like the survivors you will see tonight ever feel they have to ask themselves, 'What did I do?' They did nothing wrong."

Lady Gaga was nominated for the Oscar for Best Song, although she lost to Sam Smith's Writing's On The Wall from the latest James Bond film Spectre.

Repeat telecasts of the 88th Annual Academy Awards will air on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601) on March 2 (9pm), March 4 (10.30pm) and March 6 (4pm).