Burger Records cancelled after sexual misconduct allegations
California-based Burger Records has addressed allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against multiple employees and artists signed to the label, resulting in the indie’s closure.
All music released on the label is set to be removed from streaming services shortly with artists released from their contracts and cleared to distribute elsewhere, according to Pitchfork.
Co-founder and president Lee Rickard announced his resignation as the label admitted to “a toxic male music culture that does not value women as equals” in a statement on Wednesday.
Planned “major structural changes” followed the allegations that surfaced on social media over the weekend, including on the Instagram page lured_by_buger_records.
The account’s bio says it is “dedicated to amplifying voices and supporting those who were victims of sexual predation by predators involved with Burger Records.”
It accuses the label of creating “a cesspool of trauma by allowing these men to prey on children” and “curating a culture built on pedophilic tendencies and teenage fetishization”.
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From my statement as @jointholder — I was going to Burger Records shows starting at age 14. Full statement on my page. All my friends who went to Burger shows, even online friends who lived across the country, experienced predatory behavior on behalf of those affiliated with Burger Records. With that being said, Burger Records is responsible for curating a culture built on pedophilic tendencies and teenage fetishization, allowing predators access to the thousands of teenagers paying $$$ to go to their nearly-daily shows being held. Men of Burger Records lured teens in vans, the back room of Burger Records, and a storage unit someone was living in within the Burger Records lot. These people will be held accountable, and there will be silence no longer 🌟☄️
The page has almost 19,000 followers. Some of the label’s bands whose members were listed in accusations were The Growlers, SWMRS, the Buttertones, Cosmonauts and The Frights.
In addition to the restructure – which included co-founder Sean Bohrman stepping down and Jessa Zapor-Gray as interim president – Burger Records is also planned to rebrand as BRGR RECS.
This move was swiftly criticised on the Lured By Burger Records account.
“The new interim president of Burger Records is a PR person working to re-brand a company build on predation. She tried and failed to silence us over two days.”
Almost as quickly as Zapor-Gray arrived in the interim role, she was out: “Upon further review, I have informed Burger Records that I no longer believe I will be able to achieve my intended goals…” she said.
“Therefore, I have decided to step away from the label entirely to focus on my other projects.”
It’s since been confirmed that burger Records will instead close entirely after Zapor-Gray chose to no longer take on the interim president role.
Burger Records went into PR-mode, announcing plans to start all-female imprint BRGRRRL and a counselling fund services for victims who “suffered trauma while engaging in the Burger scene”.
“We extend our deepest apologies to anyone who has suffered irreparable harm from any experience that occurred in the Burger and indie/DIY music scene…,” reads the statement.
“We are sorry that we did not actively monitor this behavior well enough to make the Burger music scene safer for you. You should never feel you have to sacrifice your personal space to be able to enjoy music, for your career or in pursuit of your art; you shouldn’t feel you have to choose between music and your comfort.
“We thank you for coming forward and for your courage to speak up, and want you to know that we are committed to doing real work to improve the culture of BRGR RECS and the indie music scene for all of us,” the label said directly to alleged victims.
“We want to be leaders in the industry and a model for other labels to effect real, lasting change.”