Burger Records Shutters After Anonymous ‘Sexual Misconduct’ Allegations

Counter-culture is going through a process where it tears down it’s own clubhouses.

By James McSandwich

Multiple anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct have bubbled up regarding both management and artists at Burger Records. They have now  announced plans for “major structural changes” to address a “culture of toxic masculinity.” Co-founder and president Lee Rickard has now resigned. Co-founder Sean Bohrman has also made public plans to step down. The punk label initially attempted a rebrand and changed its name to BRGR. However, now, in a public message, Bohrman has released a statement saying the label will completely shutter. 

It is fascinating how this punk empire has crumbled under anonymous assertions of abstractions like ‘sexual misconduct.’

According to Consequence of Sound, “ Longtime indie label Burger Records has been accused of “curating” a breeding ground for predatory behavior and sexual misconduct. Additionally, sexual assault allegations have been made specifically against Burger Records signees and their associates, including members of The Growlers, The Frights, The Buttertones, SWMRS, and Cosmonauts, among others.“ The accusations use the often boiler plate language used to incriminate the accused in absentia. One must consider the allegations in light of a lack of investigation. 

Interim leader Jessa Zapor-Gray published a memo announcing she decided to scrap plans to step into temporary label president. “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; or if I found that rebuilding was not possible, instead to organize and prepare the label for closure.” The 5 minute interim president continued “When I was asked to take over in this capacity, I expected some blowback for my decision to accept but I believed that the opportunity to have a role in effecting real and lasting positive change within the Burger and indie music scenes was worth the risk. 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. Therefore, I have decided to step away from the label entirely to focus on my other projects.

Bohrman later told Pitchfork, “We decided to fold the label.” She made clear there are no plans to rebrand the label. 

The entirety of Burger Records catalog will be removed from streaming platforms though many artists’ work is still available via Spotify and Apple Music. “Yeah, I just asked our distro to take everything down, it’s probably not an instant process,” Bohrman told Pitchfork.

Burger Records is credited with a slew of artists’ catalogs including King Tuff, Peach Kelli Pop, Gap Dreamand Timmy’s Organism.

Oakland’s Total Trash Productions—producers of the annual ‘Burger Boogaloo festival’ released a statement that it had severed ties with Burger Records and plans to rebrand.

We never liked the kind of music Burger Records pushed out; the kind of lazy, lo-fi, jangly,  nostalgic ‘punk’ that rich poseurs produced. But we can not ignore the significance of counter-culture eating it’s own.

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