Hasbro really knows how to take intense love and devotion to its products and turn it into a creepy, weird stalkerish situation, and fast. A man named Martyn in Australia was so into Nerf guns that he had a blog devoted to the subject so he and other fans could geek out over the toys. All fine and dandy until he posted a review of a gun that wasn’t released yet.
The “N-Strike Elite Rampage Blaster” was available on eBay and its Chinese cousin Taobao, says Geekosystem, so Martyn probably figured everything was fine. Shortly afterward, Hasbro contacted him and asked for his address under the pretense that they wanted to send him some swag for a reader giveaway. How exciting!
Instead, Hasbro mailed him a letter from its lawyers, demanding he take down the review and provide details of the person who had given him info on the gun, including the name, address, email and IP address. Martyn took down the review but refused to hand over his source information, saying that unreleased guns were readily available online. Hasbro asked for that info again, and he didn’t reply.
Fast forward to three weeks later, when Martyn’s neighbors told him they’d seen two people poking around in his apartment. He confronted the tape recorder-wielding creepsters, who said they were representatives of Hasbro’s lawyers.
Martyn wrote to the lawyers, saying in part:
I realise I forgot to get back to you because I have been busy with work and non-Nerf matters but I really think that it was extremely unprofessional and wrong to send strange people to come and lurk around my apartment block menacingly like that. You really freaked out the neighbours and people who live nearby mentioned some strange woman and a big-looking repo-man-looking guy hanging around suspiciously.
First of all, you’re lucky that no one called the police. Secondly, I really do not appreciate being ambushed by lawyers or their representatives on a Sunday afternoon when I haven’t done anything wrong, I have taken down the images and it’s not my fault that neither you nor Hasbro seem to be able to find out whoever the original source of the guns. It would also have been appropriate to give me forewarning so that I could have a lawyer present.
Hasbro is facing boycotts over the controversy, but the saddest part might just be the loss of one of their biggest fans. Way to kill that love, Hasbro.