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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Alumna participated in Lady Gaga’s Oscar performance

Photo courtesy ABC/Craig Sjodin
Lady Gaga performs at the Oscars in 2015. Photo courtesy ABC/Craig Sjodin

This post was written by Culture Editor Grace Gannon.

Alumna Maya Weinstein was one of the 51 sexual assault survivors who participated in Lady Gaga’s Oscar performance of the Best Original Song nominee “Til it Happens to You” on Sunday.

Vice President Joe Biden introduced the performance of the song, which is from the campus sexual sexual documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Weinstein, who graduated in 2015, is featured in the documentary discussing GW’s handling of her sexual assault.

“It shows how big of an issue it is with the Vice President involved and also it’s important to have men involved,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said Lady Gaga’s team contacted her to be in the performance only a week before the Oscars. She said she agreed to make the last minute trip to L.A. from D.C. because it was an “incredible opportunity to connect with other survivors and use my voice.”

Photo courtesy Maya Weinstein.
Photo courtesy Maya Weinstein.

Weinstein said Lady Gaga was “very emotional” when she showed up to rehearsal on the Friday before the Oscars.

“She hugged each of us, she talked to us about how powerful this can be and she was so genuine, so real,” Weinstein said.

During the performance, the survivors held hands and revealed messages including “It’s not your fault” and “Unbreakable” written on their arms.

Weinstein chose to write the word “Survivor” on her arm.

“It’s so simple but I like that. I think that words holds a lot of strength,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said that the experience of performing on a stage in front of the many well-known faces in the Oscar crowd was “totally unreal.”

“There was this incredible energy where I feel like everyone was so connected and like I’m looking at Matt Damon you know and it didn’t even matter really everyone was in the same place,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein also got to hug Brie Larson, who won Best Actress that night playing a sexual assault survivor in “Room,” after filing off the stage from the performance.

“She was great, she was emotional and we actually got to talk to her after the show and she passed around her Oscar and was jumping up and down taking selfies so she’s an incredible person,” Weinstein said.
While “Til it Happens to You” lost the Oscar to the James Bond song “Writing’s On The Wall,” Weinstein said that the message of the song was more important than winning.

“When we were backstage about to go on it just hit me how many people would be impacted whether it was to share their own stories, to get help, to talk to a friend that something has been going on – that’s the most important thing,” Weinstein said. “The message that came out of this and the power that it had, I mean it helped all 51 of us on stage and the audience specifically there and anyone who saw on TV. The impact is going to be insane.”

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