When you think of the hat that Jayne Cobb’s mama made for him as a gift in sci-fi fan favourite Firefly, you probably think a little of the love that went into it, turning it into a symbol of the warm, fluffy centre under Jayne’s big tough mercenary exterior. It’s that kind of love that a lot of fans have for this show, so it makes perfect sense that with no licensed replica available before now, Browncoats with a knack for knitting have been making and selling handmade versions of the hat for each other since the show’s cancellation in 2002.
Enter FOX, returning once again to ruin every Firefly fan’s day.
After great demand, popular online merchandise store ThinkGeek collaborated with Ripple Junction to mass-produce a licensed replica available on their site. This gave FOX the pull to start throwing cease-and-desist notices at any fan who had the nerve to sell homemade versions of their own on sites like eBay and Etsy. And they did.
Following mass fan reaction, especially criticism in their direction, ThinkGeek have responded, distancing themselves from the controversy caused by FOX but also doing what they can to make things right:
Browncoats, we hear your concerns about the cease and desist on Etsy Jayne Hat sellers!
We weren’t involved in that process, but we have reached out to FOX and we’ve heard what you’ve had to say. As a result, we’ve decided to donate the profits from all Jayne Hat sales on our site to Can’t Stop the Serenity, a Browncoat charity dear to ThinkGeek’s heart that raises funds and awareness in support of Equality Now. We’ll continue making that donation until we run out of stock.
We hope the Hero of Canton himself would approve.
ThinkGeek are good people, they’re fans like the rest of us. It’s just unfortunate that this slightly misguided attempt at providing something cool has divebombed into something that takes a lot of the heart and meaning from the hat.
If you want, you can buy one of ThinkGeek’s replica hats and contribute to Equality Now here. Personally, I’d rather donate to the cause and look out for a good handmade version; if they’re illegal now, then I think the crew of Serenity would approve of that even more.