Rap Genius Dumps Founder for Screed on Calif. Shooter

He suggested Rodger's sister must be 'smokin' hot'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2014 4:28 AM CDT
Startup Founder Fired for Crass Calif. Shooting Remarks
Images of shooting victim Ross Michael-Martinez are displayed as part of a makeshift memorial in front of the IV Deli Mart, where part of Friday night's mass shooting took place.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The co-founder of annotation service Rap Genius has been turfed out after making stunningly tasteless remarks on the manifesto of Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger. Mahbod Moghadam called the 141-page document "beautifully written" and speculated that the shooter's sister is "smokin hot." Rap Genius CEO Tom Lehman said Moghadam had resigned over the annotations, which "didn’t attempt to enhance anyone’s understanding of the text, but went beyond that into gleeful insensitivity and misogyny." Sources, however, tell Re/code that the co-founder was asked to leave by Lehman and also faced pressure from investors.

Before the resignation, Moghadam apologized, saying: "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." His departure appears to be a sign that the company, which has expanded from rap lyrics into crowdsourced explanations of things like legal documents and classic literature, wants to distance itself from "swaggish" behavior, reports Valleywag, which notes that Moghadam has blamed previous outbursts on a brain tumor. (More Elliot Rodger stories.)

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