Ever since FOX ruined the lives of Firefly aficionados by canceling the show after only four months back in 2002, fans have been coping the best way they can, including knitting their own orange “Jayne” hats in an homage to one of its characters. In one of the only 14 episodes, Jayne Cobb’s ma sends him the cozy headgear. He loves it, it’s silly looking and thus, it’s awesome. But attracted by the scent of money changing hands for these handmade versions on Etsy and elsewhere, FOX suddenly seems to care about Firefly.
When we say “care” we mean, FOX is seeking to shut down any vendors selling the Jayne hats, as it holds the license for Firefly and as such, those sellers are infringing on its intellectual property. The network started issuing cease-and-desist letters to Jayne hat peddlers, causing many shops to go out of business.
But as Buzzfeed noted in an in-depth look at the Mom & Pop e-shops, many of the fans only made and sold the hats out of a love for the show, a show FOX didn’t care to keep on the air, and see this as yet another slight against the Browncoat community. After all, many fans came up with their own patterns and unique twists on the hat, pouring all that fan love into a knitted product to be shared with other Browncoats.
ThinkGeek.com caught the backside of fans’ collective hands a few months back when it started selling a licensed version of the Jayne hat on its site for $24.99. While it claims that it had nothing to do with Etsy sellers getting shut down for selling similar products, this week it’s gone a step further to profess its love of Firefly and its fans.
In an update this week to the product page, ThinkGeek says it’s heard the mighty roar of Firefly fans:
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 definitely heard what you’ve had to say. (We know you guys have Vera to back you up.)
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 of Jayne Hats.
We hope the Hero of Canton himself would approve.
A search for “Jayne hat” on Etsy does pull up a number of results, at least as of this writing. If FOX gets its big, bad way, however, even those listings could disappear.
Fans are likely not holding their collective breath to hear back from FOX, because it’s not like the network would listen to impassioned pleas from a hardcore fanbase anyway, right?
In the meantime, perhaps I’ll just have to ask my talented colleague Laura Northrup to knit me one instead. Because it’s all about the love that goes into the hat, at least to Firefly fans. Hey, even Nathan Fillion approves:
You got a job? We'll do it. Don't much care what it is.—
Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion) April 11, 2013