Rap Genius co-founder out of a job after praising shooter Elliot Rodger’s manifesto

By Scott Kaufman
Monday, May 26, 2014 21:07 EDT
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The co-founder of the Rap Genius website has been forced to leave the company after he posted offensive commentary praising the 141-page manifesto of alleged mass murder Elliot Rodger.

Rap Genius is dedicated to annotating and interpreting lyrics and other texts, including, in this case, Rodger’s manifesto. On Sunday, Mahbod Moghadam began commenting on the quality of Rodger’s prose.

Moghadam noted that the sentence “I can recall the first time I said the name on my lips” was “Beautifully written,” and that “It was the only time in my life that I would see a girl my age naked” was “an artful sentence, beautifully written.”

He even hypothesized that the alleged mass-murder’s sister must have been “smokin hot,” because Rodger wrote that he “becomes extremely angry when he hears [his sister] having sex with her boyfriend.”

In a statement to Valleywag’s Nitasha Tiku, Moghadam wrote that “I was fascinated by the fact that a text was associated with such a heartbreaking crime, especially since Elliot is talking about my neighborhood growing up[.] I got carried away with making the annotations and making any comment about his sister was in horrible taste, thankfully the rap genius community edits out my poor judgement, I am very sorry for writing it[.]”

However, the community edits were not enough to save his job, as The Huffington Post reports that he has been asked to leave the company. In a statement, fellow co-founder Tom Lehman wrote that Moghadam “annotated the piece with annotations that not only didn’t attempt to enhance anyone’s understanding of the text, but went beyond that into gleeful insensitivity and misogyny. All of which is contrary to everything we’re trying to accomplish at Rap Genius.”

Lehman said in the statement that Moghadam had resigned, but Kara Swisher at Recode said that he was actually fired.

[Screen capture via YouTube]

Scott Kaufman
Scott Kaufman
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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