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Burger Records Shutters as Interim President Steps Down

Independent label removing all releases from streaming services

Burger Records will shutter following a spate of sexual-misconduct allegations and after its interim president stepped down from the job.

Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

Burger Records will shutter following a spate of sexual-misconduct allegations leveled against artists and label staff, Pitchfork reports. The decision by co-founder Sean Bohrman comes after Jessa Zapor-Gray — who was initially tapped to serve as Burger’s interim president — decided not to take the job.

Following the allegations, which emerged over the weekend, Burger co-founder Lee Rickard resigned and Bohrman moved into a “transitional” role to help Zapor-Gray before eventually stepping down. There were plans to rebrand the label BRGR RECS and start a new all-women imprint, BRGRGRRRL.

But early Wednesday morning, Zapor-Gray — who’d previously worked with Burger and Burger artists on various projects on a contract basis — released a statement saying she would not serve as interim president. Zapor-Gray said she’d planned to evaluate the label to see whether it could be “salvaged and made into something better” before it was handed off to new leadership, or if “rebuilding was not possible” and plans needed to be made for closure. Zapor-Gray acknowledged that she “expected some blowback” when she agreed to the job, but said she “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.”

She continued: “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.”

Following Zapor-Gray’s comment, Pitchfork contacted Bohrman about the label’s future and he said, “We decided to fold the label.” He said it would not be rebranded and declined to comment further. Burger’s social media channels have been deactivated.

Bohrman also said that all Burger releases would be taken down from streaming platforms, although artists will be able to re-upload them, as all Burger artists own their music. “I hate dealing with lawyers, so we never signed contracts with bands,” he said.

Also on Tuesday night, Burger Boogaloo, the independently produced festival organized by Oakland’s Total Trash Productions, severed ties with Burger Records over the sexual-misconduct allegations. Total Trash plans to rename the event and said it “will continue as a Total Trash Production.”