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Sacha Baron Cohen Humiliated the Tech Bro Founder of Rap Genius
In five episodes, Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America? has made for a handful of insane moments—taking down politicians, lobbyists, and exposing the worst in a few everyday Americans. But while he’s dabbled in the art world, music, and reality television, he’s left one major American export untouched: the tech industry. And on Sunday night, Cohen went after Silicon Valley, making ousted Rap Genius founder Mahbod Moghadam look like a total dipshit in the process.
So far, Cohen’s character Gio—playboy photographer for the super rich—has been one of the weakest links on Who Is America?. But, in Episode Five, Moghadam (aka Mahboo, as he explains to the camera is his hip-hop name), does a photoshoot with Gio, during which the comedian encouraged the tech bro to “do something like a black guy.”
At the suggestion, Moghadam makes the Blood sign with his hands and mimics firing a gun at the camera, saying “pop, pop.” He follows that up with an absolutely embarrassing rap freestyle. It’s both humiliating and racist, from the founder of a website that explains itself as such:
Genius started as a platform for annotating clever rap lyrics—our original name was Rap Genius. Over the years, we’ve expanded our mission to include more than hip-hop, and more than just lyrics. Every song has a story that needs to be told, and the biggest names in music—including Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, and Lin-Manuel Miranda—come to Genius to give the world insight into their art.
Moghadam was fired from the company in 2014 after posting disgusting annotations on a mass murderer’s manifesto on the Genius website. Since then, he’s launched his own competitor to Wikipedia called Everipedia.
If it weren’t already bad enough, the tech bro then allows Gio to photograph him on a green screen to stage phony photos of him helping feed children in Sudan, complete with product placement and a cringeworthy use of a doll’s arm.
Moghadam may be the first tech jerk on Who is America?, but hopefully he’s not the last. It’s an industry that certainly gives Cohen a lot to work with.