Having always taken an intense interest in Firefly whenever it’s not on their network, Fox has made the rare blunder of upsetting Firefly fans, after putting a stop to the underground industry of “Jayne hats.” The orange-and-yellow knit cap—a mom-made gift to Adam Baldwin’s tough guy character, seen briefly in a single episode that didn't even make it to air—has long been a staple of Browncoat fandom, with many like “Ma Cobb” taking to Etsy, eBay, and their own web storefronts to peddle hand-knit versions, a practice that the show’s stars and creator Joss Whedon have warmly embraced. Unfortunately, just as the Firefly hat started to become popular, Fox had to come along and cancel it: After an officially licensed, mass-produced version began selling on ThinkGeek, many of those independent sellers began receiving cease-and-desist notices, while some were even banned from Etsy altogether. Adding insult to injury, ThinkGeek’s page for the Jayne hat openly admits that its makers—a company called Ripple Creek—“weren’t huge fans” of the show, which in some circles is considered an even greater crime.
BuzzFeed has a thorough recounting of the chronology of this story, but suffice to say, the Firefly community responded by doing what it does best—voicing its displeasure at being ignored, throughout all corners of the Internet. Soon enough, the controversy reached ThinkGeek, which responded with a blog post clarifying it had nothing to do with Fox’s actions, and swearing that its only intention, as always, was to share in the fandom (while, yes, also capitalizing on it). But when that didn’t put an end to the complaints, the company put out another statement, this time promising to donate all proceeds from the Jayne hat to the Browncoat charity Can’t Stop The Serenity, from now until the item finally, mercifully goes out of stock. Meanwhile, Fox has yet to respond to Firefly fans’ still-fervent outcry over the studio’s legally sound, yet undeniably petty protection of its intellectual property, because hey, there’s no reason to start listening to Firefly fans now.