At one time, the Needle Vinyl Tavern on Jasper Avenue was a hotspot for the Edmonton nightlife scene. In 2017, though, it came to an abrupt end as the owner of the bar, James Leder, had accused of sexual assault. At first, the bar and concert hall shut down indefinitely before coming to a permanent close later in the year.
Brittany Rudyck was a bartender at the venue, and also ran the club’s social media pages. She accused Leder of groping her multiple times with customers watching in 2017, and says that coming forward with the allegations left her ostracized in the music scene. In the summer of 2019, her allegations were proven to be true as Leder pleaded guilty to sexual assault.
Now, Rudyck says that she no longer goes to live shows, and her aspirations of being a writer in the music scene are gone. “I grieve for that woman,” she said of the person she was before being assaulted by her boss. “This is not a fun moment,” she added. “Nobody wants to go to court and share their story again and again and again in a room full of strangers, in a room full of people who vilify you and hate you and think you ‘ruined the scene.’”
It was a 30 day jail sentence for Leder, who was said to have apologized to Rudyck that morning after he was claimed to have assaulted her. There’s a new venue that will replace the Needle Vinyl Tavern in its place, and the new owners are adamant that there’s no connection to Leder.