Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! Browncoats the world over got their dander up yesterday when word broke that Fox was sending cease-and-desists to Firefly fans who had been knitting and selling replicas of Jayne’s stylish hat on ETSY and similar sites. See, Ripple Junction just bought the licensing rights to sell the hat, so they’ve been trying to stamp out the unlicensed versions out there. That move has been met with irritation and outrage by some die-hard Firefly fans. Now a couple of the folks involved with the beloved series have addressed the issue via Twitter.
First up was the improbably named Shawna Trpcic, the Firefly costume who actually created the “Jayne hat” in the first place. While she didn’t directly address the controversey herself, she did retweet the following not once, but twice:
— shawna (@trpcic) April 10, 2013
When you have to work in Hollywood, you want to be careful not to burn bridges, so it’s understandable that Adam Baldwin, the Man They Call Jayne, also took an indirect approach to the issue, retweeting the following:
— Adam Baldwin (@adamsbaldwin) April 9, 2013
Let’s face it: Fox and Ripple Junction are perfectly within their rights, but surely there was a better way of going about this. Fox canceled Firefly back in the day, after airing it out of order, so it’s understandable that loyal Browncoats would be a bit cynical about their sudden deep concern about a hat fans have been recreating for a decade already. These are the folks whose passion has helped make Firefly as an indelible part of the pop culture landscape in the decade since the show’s demise. If Fox wanted to start selling an official version of the hat, fine, but there had to be a less dickish way to ask fans to stop making the hats than just hitting them with cease-and-desists. It’s just the sort of move that’s only going to stoke the fires of Browncoat hatred of Fox.
In the mean time, I’m just wondering how many of the fans are going to keep selling the hats, only under a different name or with a slightly different color scheme. You know Browncoats; they aim to misbehave.