The co-founder of RapGenius has resigned after making "gleefully insensitive and misogynist" comments about Friday's Isla Vista shootings.
In a series of comments on the site, now deleted, Mahbod Moghadam called accused shooter Elliot Rodger's 141-page manifesto "beautifully written" multiple times, guessed that Rodger's 18-year-old sister was "smokin hot", and described an acquaintance of Rodger's as going "on to attend USC and turn into a spoiled hottie".
Six people were killed in the Isla Vista attack. Rodger also died.
RapGenius began as a lyric site with a twist, offering users the ability to provide annotations to songs and explain the rivalries and references behind the music. But it recently branched out, allowing users to employ the same framework to collectively elaborate on news sources.
Moghadam apologised for his comments, telling Valleywag's Nitasha Tiku that he "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 judgment, I am very sorry for writing it."
But it wasn't enough for him to save his job. The company's CEO, Tom Lehman, announced on Tuesday that Modhadam has resigned as an employee, and from the board of directors.
Modhadam, Lehman said, "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 …
"Were Mahbod’s annotations posted by a Rap Genius moderator, that person would cease to be an effective community leader and would have to step down. 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."
While RapGenius's unique selling point is its annotation system, the majority of the company's traffic comes from users Googling to find the lyrics to popular songs. As a result, the company suffered a massive hit in traffic in December after the search engine penalised it for its approach to search engine optimisation.
"We messed up," the company's founders wrote in an open letter to Google at the time. "We do not want to break Google’s rules, and will do whatever it takes to learn them inside out and comply with them." Ten days later, the company's position on the search engine was restored.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010