Rap Genius Co-Founder Quits After Controversy Surrounding Santa Barbara Shooting
Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam, is stepping down and leaving the site after making insensitive and ill-suited comments about the Santa Barbara shooting suspect’s manifesto.
The alleged culprit, Elliot O. Rodger, 22-year-old student at Santa Barbara City College, was said to have shot and killed six people off campus Friday night (May 23). He reportedly posted an autobiography (141 pages in length) coupled with a video that talks about “retribution” against women who had previously rejected him before committing suicide. He was found dead with a bullet wound to the head in a black BMW, this according to authorities.
After posting the manifesto on their own site, Rap Genius’ Moghdam published a number of controversial annotations about the declaration, calling it “beautifully written” and “artful.” He continued to cause shock with remarks about the suspect’s sister.
“Elliot barely mentions his sister Georgia throughout the book!” wrote Moghdam. “MY GUESS: his sister is smoking hot.”
Backlash immediately ensued across social media, against the site popular for allowing users to better interpret song lyrics. Rap Genius co-founder and CEO Tom Lehman, had this to say about Moghdam and his resignation:
“Almost all the annotations were at least attempting a close reading – they were genuinely, though imperfectly, trying to add context to the text and make it easier to understand. However, Mahbod Moghadam, one of my co-founders, 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. And Mahbod, our original community leader, is no exception. In light of this, Mahbod has resigned – both in his capacity as an employee of the company, and as a member of our board of directors, effective immediately.”
Moghadam has since released a statement of his own over at Gawker:
“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.”
What do you make of Moghadam’s resignation? Let us know what you think, sound off in the comments.