With the #metoo movement taking center stage, people and businesses are becoming more aware of their treatment of women. This is a reality that really hit home for Burger Records, a California record label that announced a series of structural changes due to a “culture of masculinity”.
Photo Credit: Spin Magazine
The shift follows several allegations of sexual misconduct aimed at the company’s staff members and bands. While many of these accusations were anonymous, one high profile situation was brought into light when Regrettes’ singer Lydia Night went public announcing details of her toxic relationship with Burger band SWMRS drummer and son of Billy Joe Armstrong, Joey Armstrong.
Night claims that even though she was never physically abused by Armstrong, she experienced “emotional abuse and sexual coercion by someone in a position of power over me”. Night is referring to a relationship she had with Armstrong that started when she was 16 and the drummer was 22.
The label began addressing the sexual accusations in a statement posted Saturday on their Facebook page. In the statement, they addressed accusations made against their artists for “engaging in the grooming of underage girls for sex, relationships built on power imbalance, and the solicitation of pornography from minors.”
As a result of the accusations, Burger co-founder and president Lee Rickard has resigned. Co-founder Sean Bohrman moved to a transitional role and will eventually step down to assist interim president Jessa Zapor-Gray. The label will also rebrand itself as BRGR Records and launch the all woman imprint BRGRRL.
The label followed up releasing the following statement. “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 company admitted “words can only go so far in repairing any damage that has been created.” They continued, “It is the ability to put past behaviors under a microscope, and to fully listen to those who have suffered as a result of such behaviors, in order to be able to truly make meaningful changes so that not only do those behaviors no longer occur, but real positive change can be made to meet the moment.”
The label pledged to create a fund to help pay for counseling services for “those who suffered trauma while engaging in the Burger scene.” They also promised they would “evaluate the whole of the existing label catalog and artists therein, discontinuing the distribution of artists according to our zero-tolerance policy.”
Our hearts go out to the young girls who went through these experiences and it is good to see the label taking a positive step forward. It is hopeful that all changes will be for the better.