Burger Records Calls It Quits: Label Folds After Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Yesterday, Burger Records announced "major structural changes" after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the California garage rock label and record store's artists and employees emerged on social media. Burger co-founder and president Lee Rickard stepped down, co-founder Sean Bohrman moved into a "transitional" role, and Jessa Zapor-Gray became interim label president, with plans to rename the label BRGR RECS and launch an all-woman imprint, BRGRRRL.
Those plans have been scrapped. Now, Burger Records is instead shutting down completely.
In a statement released late Tuesday, Zapor-Gray -- who has worked in communications and partnerships with Burger and Burger artists on a contract basis for the last year and a half -- announced that she would not be taking over the label after all. When she accepted the role over the weekend, "My plan was to quickly begin assessing and evaluating if anything about the label could perhaps be salvaged and made into something better, then eventually hand off a functioning label to a future administration unrelated to the label’s founders;" she wrote, "or if I found that rebuilding was not possible, instead to organize and prepare the label for closure."
"Upon further review, I have informed Burger Records that I no longer believe I will be able to achieve my intended goals in assuming the leadership role at Burger in the current climate," she continued. "Therefore, I have decided to step away from the label entirely to focus on my other projects."
Also on Tuesday, Total Trash Productions, which promotes the annual Burger Boogaloo festival, announced it had severed ties with Burger and will continue the festival under a different, yet-to-be-decided name.
Reached by Pitchfork, Bohrman wrote that "We decided to fold the label." He also said that Burger Records would be removing all its releases from streaming platforms, a process that has already begun -- but added that since all artists who recorded for Burger own their music, they are free to redistribute those recordings themselves.
The Burger Records website is currently blank, and its official social media pages have been deactivated. Billboard has reached out to Bohrman and Rickard for additional comment.
The Fullerton, Calif., label was founded in 2007 by Rickard and Bohrman, and has since released music by artists like King Tuff, The Growlers, Peach Kelli Pop, Gap Dream and Timmy's Organism. It was largely known for releasing cassette tapes; a large number of those tapes were pressings of albums released digitally and on vinyl by other labels.