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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.

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  1. Tango messenger on Google Play popped up twice while reading this. It’s occuring more frequently, it seems.

    Anyway, isn’t Firearm Concierge somehow associated with RJF somehow?

  2. “The only question that remains is whether Red Jacket can salvage their reputation after so much bad press.”

    There’s no question in my mind. They had no future without the TV show anyway, the rest is just nails in the coffin. Anyone with a clue would dissolve the company and move on.

    • Yeah now that the show is cancelled and the RJF firearms brand is thoroughly dragged through the mud. Joe should take his FFL and reincorporate as a different shop and move on with his life. This is going to follow them around forever if they don’t.

      I’m glad Joe was the guy who got the business after Will’s FFL got pulled. He and Vince were the only reasonably intelligent people on that show. Its funny to see his comment that Will wanted a drama shop instead of a gun shop, that pretty much summed up my opinion of the place from the episodes I watched. 90% of Will’s tirades on that show were so obviously contrived, I wanted to scream at the TV to just leave your guys alone and let them work. Shame to see he kept that BS up even when the cameras were off.

    • Move all the equipment out, burn down the building, scrub the stink of Will Hayden off anybody who worked with him, start a new company with a different name.

    • Reputation, what reputation? There are dozens of complaints posted online about the horrendous customer service and business practices of RJF. The Better Business Bureau rates them with a big fat F. Red Jacket Firearms has a continuing pattern of unanswered complaints. They are extremely slow or in some cases do not deliver items ordered. Customers complain they are unable to contact anyone with the company.

  3. No matter what, Straight Jacket Firearms is done. Which is the least important thing to do with this horrifying mess.

  4. I wouldn’t risk wearing that facial hair when trying to replace an alleged rapist. Has a bit of a rapey vibe to it. 🙂

  5. RJF was NOTHING without the TV show and they weren’t much WITH it! They were/are a bunch of clowns that Discovery put on display as an “everyday gun manufacturer/seller”. I cringed a lot during that first TV season and wondered if it could get any more stupid….. That answer was apparent quite a while back, but this shit takes the cake.
    I’m not a bit sad to see them gone.

  6. I would love to see some reviews and testing of RJF guns. Preferably their AKs.
    I’ve heard complaints but often one person gets a lemon and makes a bad video about it…

  7. Personally I think RJF business is done. It probubly will not be long before they close their doors for good. Especially after watching the Dr. Phill interview with his co star daughter. Again if proven guilty they should lock Will up with lifers, who usually all have daughters. And lock him up for life, or strap him in the chair and through the switch. If proven not guilty, he will never work again.

  8. Joe needs to change the name. Get rid of the Hayden nepotism, especially the “son in law.” Get a crew of real gunsmiths and assembly professionals. Red Stick Firearms, Istrouma Firearms…some other name and location would help to break from the past. I wish Joe the best. He seemed to have integrity and knowledge while others were questionable at best, or left the show and business due to seeing some things they could not tolerate any longer.

  9. Uhhhh…Love the site…so tired of hearing about these guys ….Didn’t like the show when they weren’t pedophiles either. …

    Not sure what it has to do with the #1 firearms blog on the Internet or why it is continually addressed here.

    Maybe to preempt an anti attack?-“see gun owners are EVIL???”

    Let it go pu leeze….

    • I’ll recant in part before I am flamed by fanboys/friends and family. ..”they” are not accused pedophiles…”he” is innocent until proven guilty…

      That said, still not sure why it gets the coverage it does by TTAG….

    • Some of us come here to see what’s going on with things like this…don’t care to watch Dr. Phil.

      Obligatory JRF bashing: Seeing that even the monkeys on that show could put together a firearm convinced me to go ahead and build my own. How hard could it be to put together an AR-15 if the son in law could do it?

      That said, Joe mostly seemed to have his head on straight and I wish him the best.

      • M PERSONAL favorite ( being left handed and I build a lot of left handed AR’s) was when some guy came in and wanted to get a left handed AR. So the first thing they do is take him to the range and give him a right handed gun. and try to convert him to a right handed gun.

      • I doubt there is evidence like there is with he Ray Rice fiasco. If he did what he is accused of he should end up under the prison, but if you ever watched the show, drama was their selling point, and blowing stuff up – not gun manufacturing. I am not saying Will is beyond reproach, but I am saying that the whole family we saw on TV is pretty far out there. I personally think the whole cast with the exception of Joe was questionable.

        BUUUUUTTTT, this is still America, and he is still innocent until proven guilty. As has been said above, guilty or not his career and name are ruined. How $%@&ed up is THAT. Think about it. “Oh, someone had a grudge and falsified everything, and now we find you innocent, but you are still screwed.” Imagine a different crazy family member wanting their share of all that TV money, or just jealous ad wanting to stir sh$t up.

        Again I am not saying he is innocent, but he IS innocent until proven guilty.

        • I never trusted that joe always thought he had bad intentions.i wonder where this will end up.does joe have relations with wills accuser we shall see.

  10. Yeah their email address is a black hole. Terrible customer service and I am not sure they’re making anything remarkable anyways.

  11. So first order of business is a name change right? Unless you want to own a gen-U-ine gun made by a company founded by a child molester!

    Maybe its not fair, but it is what it is.

  12. I was done with RJF from the first few episodes of the first season of their “reality” show.

    They were, in the episodes I saw, nothing but a bunch of half-assed, bumbling Neanderthals when it came to gunsmithing. They were an embarrassment to legitimate gunsmiths and fabrication shops nationwide.

    Add in Will Hayden’s proclivities for pre-pubescent to early pubescent girls? I wouldn’t be seen in public or private with one of their “products”.

    I gave away a half a case of Troy Battlemags after the Troy Industries scandal came out.

    I’m going to have to say child molestation might just be a smidge under shooting a mom holding an infant.

    [Edit, while Troy’s employee didn’t shoot Vicki Weaver, he did testify he would have taken the shot but Horiuchi fired first. Furthermore, Troy actually hired (before they fired) the viciously anti-gun former Chicago police chief J-fled Weis.]

    RJF can’t go bankrupt soon enough.

    Ditto for Troy Industries.


    • Yup. Haven’t bought any of their products, nor have I done any business with CTD or Dick’s Sporting Goods. They burned their bridges with me.

  13. Don’t give a rats a## about Red Jacket. I just watched (what I could stand) of Stephanie on Dr. Phi. All she accused dad of was coming in drunk and getting too friendly. No rape, nothing beyond that one time at age 12. And I don’t buy it. Am I an expert on incest? Nope-I just found Stephanie Hayden not credible and trying to distance herself. Was dads behavior appropriate? Hell yes…I just thought she was trying too hard to distance herself. They need to dissolve and start over. YMMV

    • I was wondering.

      I figured it was a typo but wanted to sit back and watch the flamers erupt like a Russian Proton M. 😉

    • There mere sight of a .45 pointed at you kills your soul… why use anything but the bullet you don’t even have to fire to win the gunfight?

      • I am as sick of the caliber wars as the next guy, but when a friend of mine recently referred to his .45 as “The Hammer of Thor” I just about bust open from laughing so hard.

        May have been one of those ‘had to be there’ moments, but we were in a “deep” discussion about how dumb the caliber wars are…and he was agreeing, uh huh-ing, offering good examples.

        Then after a moment of silence, and “But, as we all know…” and it was the perfect punctuation to the whole conversation.

      • The “kills your soul” line was Colion Noir at his best. That, and “The stone that David threw to kill Goliath was actually a .45 round that fell out of Moses’ pocket.”

    • I’m not a lawyer and have no experience with this, but my impression was that Joe was a junior partner in the company; if they dissolve the company and re-incorporate, they’d have to buy out Will’s share, then file their ATF paperwork over again to get their FFL (not to mention dispose of their inventory once Red Jacket is dissolved, and the FFL defunct). And given the publicity, getting a new license approved by ATF is not likely to go quickly.

  14. I guess I’m one of the few people who watched the show for most of its run. The interesting thing is that what Joe is saying here actually meshes with a lot the show, including the main reason I stopped watching – it stopped being about guns, and starting being just another overly dramatic “reality” series.

    The show really started to go off the rails when Vincent – then the seemingly most competent gunsmith in the shop – had what I thought was a staged dramatic blowup with Will and Kris. Now, I’m starting to wonder if he was maybe clued in on Will’s activities, but didn’t want to say anything in front of the cameras for fear of a defamation suit.

    And while I agree the ridiculous stunts and tacticool mods were sometimes ridiculous, Joe, Vince, and Flem all seemed like competent professionals despite the drama that turned me off the show.

  15. I have an idea for a new reality tv show-
    (after watching the trailer of Utopia, I am unimpressed- not enough action)

    “Naked Survival At The Gun Range”

    Lock up a group of truly “interesting” gun writers/experts on a dry range,
    with one camelbak, and a few crappy handguns,
    for multiple rounds of scenarios, including at night, in cars, you name it.

    Ok, candidates: (add yours here)

  16. Hey Red Jacket! Here’s an idea I will give you guys for free, Drop the Red Jacket Name!!! Its pretty much useless anyway, shows canned, bad PR on MS Media, maybe go with RJ Firearms idk

  17. During the Dr Phil interview, all I kept asking is. How much money will Stephanie get for RJF if dad goes away?

  18. I watched the Dr. Phil episode, Steph has every reason to be concerned, if you did watch any show, Will did make those comments that “if your not with me, your against me”, But I didnt know he lost his FFL, I did wonder why he made Joe a partner,anyways show is done as will the brand very soon

  19. On the show they painted Joe as a power hungry imbecile. Now it’s looking like he was the smartest guy in the room.

  20. I always had a weird vibe about that guy. Now i know why, And if he ain’t guilty why would the daughter come forward like she has… and don’t you dare say for the pub… I think she saw what he was doing to other children. Things that he did to her. And finally found the courage to come forward … you wouldn’t believe how much courage it takes for a victim of this to come out about this happening to them…
    I hope they he gets everything that he deserves.. In my opinion rapist and especially child rapist….. should have all their equipment removed… I mean all of it. shaft, balls everything removed so they can pee sitting down for the rest of their lives. and never be able to rape again.. dull butter knife or dull scissors.. or use that tool they use for bulls or stallions. snip snip snap all done…

  21. For those that can’t believe that an twelve-year-old kid would make something like this up —

    Talk to any divorce lawyer. Since the 70s, it has been almost routine to throw in a claim like this, when feasible, against the husband. It’s one hell of a club to beat on him with, and most guys, knowing that just the claim can destroy your life, will roll over quickly and agree to almost any settlement agreement, no matter how one-sided.

    And for the really vindictive wife, it’s the ultimate revenge.

    All it takes is a reasonably believable testimony from the kid, and in all likelihood the conviction is automatic. A wife usually won’t use it (depending on her level of psychosis) if her future depends on her ex’s continued earnings, but often there is enough equity in the house and/or his business that she can still survive nicely if he goes off to prison.

    Kids CAN lie well, especially if they are continually drilled by their mother, and especially if they have been effectively propagandized to believe that daddy is a flaming a-hole (for dumping mommy for that blonde secretary, for instance) who never loved them anyway.

    This is the one crime where just the accusation is usually enough to convict. And few prosecutors have a lot of interest in really digging into the “victim’s” claims.

    Does this mean this guy is innocent? Of course not. But just buying into these allegations with no evidence at all is really foolish.

  22. I watched this show for 3 seasons. I believe the company name needs to be changed. In an episode in the second season, Will Hayden explained that the company name was taken from his Indian name which he stated was Red Jacket. Therefore whether the company has distanced itself from him or not. The very name of this company is his Indian name. As another post indicated … Who wants to own a firearm with the name of a child rapist on it. I wish the best for the future of the company. However I don’t see how they will survive without a name change. Will Hayden/ Red Jacket is an accused Pedophile and Child Rapist. Who wants To own a firearm with that stigma attached. It’s already becoming a parade of people with similar accusations. I don’t see him getting out oh this. Oh that’s right … “Everyone is out to get him!,” You did yourself in Will Hayden! U have a black soul. Sicko!

  23. i always thought he was too protective over his daughter dating chris.i have a daughter too and am definitely protective but will hayden acted like a jealous exboyfriend instead of a concerned dad

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