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Burger Records: resignations, sexual misconduct allegations, and everything else you need to know

UPDATE: Following a series of sexual misconduct allegations, Burger Records have shut down completely.

Burger Records, a Californian garage rock label, has had a series of sexual misconduct allegations made against some of their signed artists. Accused of “curating” a haven for this kind of unacceptable behaviour, the label has been completely shaken, leading to a complete rebranding and change in management.

The allegations have accused Burger Records associates, including members of The Growlers, The Frights, The Buttertones, SWMRS and Cosmonauts, of sexually abusive and predatory behaviour.

Burger Records wrote a “Zero Tolerance” statement, categorising the allegations as “grooming of girls for sex, relationships built on power imbalance, and the solicitation of pornography from minors”.

Sexual misconduct allegations towards Burger Records-signed artists were brought to the forefront of the label’s attention. An Instagram page called Lured By Burger Records was created, urging females who felt sexually victimised to speak out against “predators involved with Burger Records”.

Numerous allegations have been made, drawing upon anecdotes that regarded the back room of Burger Records’ shop in Fullerton, California as an unsafe space where older men preyed upon underage women.

“Burger Records is responsible for curating a culture built on pedophilic tendencies and teenage fetishization, allowing predators access to the thousands of teenagers paying $$$ to go to their nearly-daily shows being held,” reads a post to the Instagram account. “Men of Burger Records lured teens in vans, the back room of Burger Records, and a storage unit someone was living in within the Burger Records lot.”

One disturbing post provided by an anonymous user explained how she was only 15 years old when she was “welcomed into the back burger records in Fullerton to ‘hang out’ with groups of age 29+ men being offered alcohol, drugs and a ride home”.

Sloppy Jane frontwoman, Haly Dahl, also spoke out against Burger Records: “When i tried to align myself in your world of bands I experienced literally countless acts of disrespect, objectification, and sexual misconduct — and witnessed even more. It was heartbreaking, and a few young women I knew who experienced the same things no longer play music as a result of it.”

Agitated by the social media blow up, Burger Records announced in a statement on Monday that they planned to “make major structural changes to the label and create and implement active policy measures to address the culture that allowed such harm to occur”.

 

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A joint statement from Mikey and Claire (@_trashbby_ on twitter)

A post shared by The Frights (@thefrights) on

Burger Records – allegations of predatory behavior coming to light from r/indieheads

Burger Records’ revamp has started right at the top of the hamburger chain. Sean Bohrman, one of the label’s co-founders, will move into “a transitional role with the label”, while the other Burger Records co-founder Lee Rickard will “immediately step down from his role as label president, and fully divest all interest in the label”. The new interim presidential role for the label will be assumed by Jessa Zapor-Gray.

The label will also undergo a name change to ‘BRGR RECS’ in order “to create a clear delineation between the old and the new Burger Records.”

“Furthermore, we will be adding an all-woman imprint to the label, BRGRRRL, which will serve to give many more women artists a platform and support for growth as musicians.”

The indie label has also offered to pay for counselling for any women who feel traumatised by the Burger scene in the past. They will no longer associate themselves with the shop, which will also have a new name.

“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 label said in their most recent statement.

BRGR RECS pledges to also reevaluate their entire back catalogue of artists, “discontinuing the distribution of artists according to” their “zero-tolerance policy”. Here’s a list inclusive of some of the sexual allegations made against band members falling under the branch of the Burger family, while also exploring how the band’s have taken to social media to respond.

The Growlers

Multiple allegations were made against The Growlers, first being posted on Twitter last week. One user wrote, “when I was 15, they asked me to show my tits to get into their show for free”, while another accuses them of asking her friend to take off her shirt during an interview with the band at their SoCal recording studio.

Concerning accusations were made by a woman against lead guitarist, Matt Taylor, who she claimed raped her twice.

“One night we were making out and as he was taking off my clothes i firmly said i didnt want to have sex without a condom, neither of us had one. He ignored what i said, took his pants off and slipped inside me while on top of me,” the woman wrote, recalling the first incident of the alleged rape. In the second incident, the woman claims Taylor decided to take off the condom against her will during consensual sex.

The band responded to the allegations in a statement on Instagram, which has now been deleted. A number of responders have heavily criticised The Growlers on their most recent Instagram post where the statement resides.

More recently Arrow De Wilde, frontwoman of Starcrawler who toured with The Growlers in 2019, has shared her own story of abuse from their time in Australia. Brooks Nielson has responded on The Growlers’ behalf.

 

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A post shared by Arrow (@arrowdewilde) on

 

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A post shared by The Growlers (@losgrowlers) on

SWMRS

Lydia Night, singer of The Regrettes, accused Joey Armstrong (SWMRS drummer and son of Green Day frontman Billy Joe Armstrong) of sexual misconduct. She recalls upon her relationship with him that lasted for nearly two years, that started when she was only 16 and Armstrong was 22.

 

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A post shared by lydia! (@lydianight) on

 

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Cw: abuse

A post shared by SWMRS (@swmrs) on

The Buttertones

Clementine Creevy, frontwoman of Cherry Glazerr, accused The Buttertones’ Sean Redman of statutory rape and abuse. She wrote on Instagram that he “started a relationship with me when I was 14 and he was 20.” 

Creevy also claims that he knew she was underage, but still had sex with her: “I remember feeling confused and uncomfortable that he was trying to have sex with me but I went along with it. He also insisted on not using protection and gave me HPV. That was the first time I had sex.”

 

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The Buttertones’ label, Innovative Leisure, announced they were dropping the band from their label immediately following the allegations.

The Frights

The Frights frontman, Mikey Carnevale, has also been accused of sexual misconduct and predatory behaviour. He has since reached out and taken some sort of level of accountability for his actions in the past, issuing a joint statement with the woman on Instagram.

 

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A joint statement from Mikey and Claire (@_trashbby_ on twitter)

A post shared by The Frights (@thefrights) on

The Cosmonauts

A member of The Cosmonauts, Alexander Ahmadi has been accused of sexual misconduct with an unconscious girl at a party: “Alex… assaulted a friend of mine. She was passing out in a friend’s room at a party and he came in the room. She told him to leave, that she just wanted to sleep and he said he would sleep too and promised not to try anything. A little while later, she woke up to him on top of her with his penis out. This has deeply traumatized her.” 

In hindsight, many fans have also pointed out their dissatisfaction with the band’s 2014 cassette sleeve that reads: ‘You’ll never be as cute as a teenage girl. – Bobby May’

In the statement above, Cosmonauts acknowledge their regret in writing that line on the cassette cover: “We didn’t realize at the time what implications could be drawn from that quote. It’s a deeply problematic quote, and we apologize for any hurt it has caused.”

Cosmonauts also attempted to address the sexual misconduct allegations that were made: “At times we engaged in behavior that we wholeheartedly regret. Being unfaithful to partners, lying, being promiscuous and the toxic male behavior that accompanies that. This was gross and unacceptable behavior and it’s part of what’s wrong with the music scene. We’re ashamed of it. Over the years we’ve been working on ourselves, but we know we will always have more growth ahead.”

Read the full Burger Records statement here.

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July 22, 2020