Burger Records co-founder and president Lee Rickard has stepped down and divested from the garage rock imprint, which announced “major structural changes” after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the Fullerton, California, label’s artists and employees emerged on social media over the weekend.
“We understand that we will never be able to comprehend the trauma that women have experienced while trying to find a place in the music scene,” read a “zero tolerance” statement from Burger posted on Monday night (July 20). “We are profoundly saddened and sickened by the pain suffered at the hands of a toxic male music culture that does not value women as equals. 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, the latter of which we take part. We are also deeply sorry for the role Burger has played in perpetuating a culture of toxic masculinity.”
The allegations were featured on an Instagram page titled “Lured by Burger Records,” which labels itself as an account “dedicated to amplifying voices and supporting those who were victims of sexual predation and predators involved with Burger Records.” One of the anonymous posts claimed that the label had “created a cesspool of trauma by allowing these men to prey on children. By allowing them to drink alcohol alongside adult men,” the post claims that the label allegedly placed “predatory men on pedestals” and gave them access to underaged girls, often ones who were “traumatized children who are seeking validation they may not be receiving at home.”
Other posts included allegations against Burger Records bands and an alleged image from a Burger release featuring the quote “You’ll never be as cute as a teenage girl.”
The label, which also has a record store and organizes the annual Burger Boogaloo festival, said that co-founder Sean Bohrman will move into a “transitional” role, with Jessa Zapor-Gray stepping up as interim label president. In addition, it will rename itself BRGR RECS and launch an all-woman imprint, BRGRRRL, as well as offering to start a fund to help pay for counseling for those who suffered trauma while taking part in the Burger music scene and ensuring safe spaces for women and minors at future label events.
“We are sorry that we did not actively monitor this behavior well enough to make the Burger music scene safer for you,” read the statement. “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.”
Billboard reached out to Burger Records for additional comment on the allegations and had received no response at press time.
Among the other changes enumerated in the statement are a new standard artist agreement — which Burger did not previously offer — that will include clear statements about “unlawful and predatory behavior” to provide a clear path to justice against any future predatory behavior, as well as severing all ties between the label and the Burger Records shop, which will change its name and no longer host any in-store performances. All future BRGR events will have a dedicated safe space for women, all-ages BRGR-sanctioned shows will also have a dedicated safe space for those under 18 and the label has pledged to evaluate its existing catalog and artist roster and cease distributing the distribution of artists who fail to meet its zero-tolerance policy.
Check out the full statement below.