The original party line for the Sons of Guns crew when the story about former star Will Hayden raping 12-year-old children was denial. The accusations were all baseless, they stand with Will, the whole nine yards. But as the charges snowballed, that solid wall of support began to break. Will hasn’t been the head of Red Jacket in quite some time — he was removed when the company “lost” some machine guns under his watchful eye and the ATF demanded his head on a platter. Ever since that incident Joe Meaux has been the man in charge at RJF, and while the company has been pretty much quiet about the sexual misconduct charges, Joe spoke with Fox news and had the following to say about his former boss . . .
“At first it was very hard to believe… Somebody making these allegations to somebody that I knew, it was very shocking and very confusing at first,” Meaux told FOX411 in an exclusive interview. “Will vehemently denied them, said that [it was coming from] somebody with false allegations and there was no truth. I believed it. You don’t want to believe somebody you have known over the last five years had the capability of doing that.”
Although Meaux says he had no prior knowledge of any alleged illicit activity involving minors, he has come to question Hayden’s character during their relationship.
“At one time I considered Will a friend, but looking back at it a lot of our interactions had ulterior motives from him — manipulations and things. Seeing all the people stepping forward now, it really brings to light how much control he was trying to impart on everything around him,” the gun store owner continued. “Will had his on-screen persona and his off-screen persona. His off-screen persona tried to [live in] the reality show and that is what caused a lot of conflicts and problems. I wanted to have a true firearms manufacturing company. Will wanted to have a drama manufacturing company. Those two had a conflict.”
The guys at Red Jacket Firearms are obviously trying to make a clean break with Will Hayden. Wouldn’t you? In the the video accompanying the interview, Joe seems to make an effort to point out that the shop is continuing business as usual and is still making the nifty looking firearms and accessories that have been featured on the show. The implied message: ignore the past, see what we bring in the future.
The other message that Joe is trying to put out there is that the entire firearms industry shouldn’t be persecuted for the alleged bad actions of a single person. That’s convenient, coming from the comany most closely associated with the aforementioned individual, but one that rings true nonetheless.
Will Hayden continues to proclaim his innocence, and we won’t know the truth about what happened for quite some time to come. But what is apparent is that Will’s career seems to be pretty much over, whether or not the charges are accurate. The only question that remains is whether Red Jacket can salvage their reputation after so much bad press.
Hey RJF: Just FYI, we’re still open to reviewing your guns…if you ever return our emails.