Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam resigned from the popular lyrics annotation site this weekend after posting what many found to be offensive annotations to alleged mass murderer Elliot Rodger’s 141-page manifesto Sunday.
After 22-year-old Rodger reportedly killed six people before apparently taking his own life Friday in California, the Web was flooded with information about the frustrated young man — including YouTube videos and a novella-length manifesto in which he lamented his supposedly lonely life and outlined his plan for revenge against the women who rejected him and the men who were luckier in love than he.
The Rap Genius team uploaded the 141-page story, titled “My Twisted World: The Story Of Elliot Rodger,” to their popular site this past weekend, because, according to co-founder and CEO Tom Lehman, “we decided that it was worthy of close reading — understanding the psychology of people who do horrible things can help us to better understand our society and ourselves.”
Moghadam’s more offensive comments on the manifesto have since been removed, but several media outlets report that the co-founder posted annotations speculating that Rodger’s sister was “smokin’ hot” and opining that the young man’s story was “beautifully written” and “artful.”
Lehman posted a statement on Monday announcing Moghadam’s resignation over the comments: “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,” he wrote. “All of which is contrary to everything we’re trying to accomplish at Rap Genius.”
“Mahbod is my friend,” he continued. “He’s a brilliant, creative, complicated person with a ton of love in his heart. Without Mahbod Rap Genius would not exist, and I am grateful for all he has done to help Rap Genius succeed. But I cannot let him compromise the Rap Genius mission — a mission that remains almost as delicate and inchoate as it was when we three founders decided to devote our lives to it almost 5 years ago.”
Moghadam has come forward to apologize for the remarks. In a statement to Valleywag, he said, “I got carried away with making the annotations and making any comment about his sister was in horrible taste, thankfully the rap genius [sic] community edits out my poor judgement, I am very sorry for writing it.”
He also tweeted the following on Sunday:
I want to apologize to everyone. I need to hear these criticisms, reflect for real, and work on becoming a better person
— Mabode (@mahbodmoghadam) May 26, 2014
According to some sources, Moghadam was asked to leave the company due, in part, to pressure from investors.