The sexual misconduct accusations against Burger Records led to a number of announced restructural changes, including the departure of its founder Lee Rickard and the installment of Jessa Zapor-Gray as the label’s interim president. The company will now be shutting down completely, as Zapor-Gray reportedly steps down from the position, after deciding that she would not be able to achieve her “intended goals” with the label.
The label’s other former co-founder, Sean Bohrman, who was supposed to move into a transitional role with the label, announced its shutdown in a statement to Pitchfork. “We decided to fold the label,” Bohrman reportedly told the outlet, while responding “nope” when asked if the label would continue as BRGR RCRDS. The label’s social media pages are also now offline.
Zapor-Gray explained that her goal was to “evaluate” and “examine” if the label could “perhaps be salvaged and made into something better,” with a new administration independent of the label’s founders. She goes on to explain that if she “found that rebuilding was not possible,” that she was to “organize and prepare the label for closure.”
“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,” Zapor-Grey explained. “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 stated that the label would be removing its releases from streaming platforms in an e-mail correspondence with Pitchfork, although this may take some time. “Yeah, I just asked our distro to take everything down, it’s probably not an instant process,” Bohrman reportedly explained. He also stated that bands will be able to upload their music onto streaming platforms as they own the rights, stating “I hate dealing with lawyers so we never signed contracts with bands.”
Several prominent artists affiliated with the labels have been accused of sexual misconduct, while the label itself apologized for “perpetuating a culture of toxic masculinity.” The Growlers and SWMRS drummer Joey Armstrong (the son of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong) have both responded to their respective allegations, while The Buttertones were let go from their label.
Punk icon Alice Bag dropped out of Burger Boogaloo in response to these allegations, while its promoters, Total Trash Productions, announced they cut all ties with the label and will be changing the event’s name.
Read Zapor-Gray’s full statement below:
In the last year and a half, I have worked with Burger and Burger artists on communications and partnerships on a contract basis.
Over the weekend I was asked to assume the role of the label’s interim president with the hope I could reform the label into something better for the good of all of you, the artists. 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.
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.