Joe Meaux, owner of Red Jacket Firearms, has responded to the allegations against former “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden.
“At first it was very hard to believe… Somebody making these allegations to somebody that I knew, it was very shocking and very confusing at first,” Meaux told FOX411 in an exclusive interview. “Will vehemently denied them, said that [it was coming from] somebody with false allegations and there was no truth. I believed it. You don’t want to believe somebody you have known over the last five years had the capability of doing that.”
Although Meaux says he had no prior knowledge of any alleged illicit activity involving minors, he has come to question Hayden’s character during their relationship.
“At one time I considered Will a friend, but looking back at it a lot of our interactions had ulterior motives from him — manipulations and things. Seeing all the people stepping forward now, it really brings to light how much control he was trying to impart on everything around him,” the gun store owner continued. “Will had his on-screen persona and his off-screen persona. His off-screen persona tried to [live in] the reality show and that is what caused a lot of conflicts and problems. I wanted to have a true firearms manufacturing company. Will wanted to have a drama manufacturing company. Those two had a conflict.”
Meaux has given his unqualified support to the alleged victims, and says that Stephanie Hayden Ford—one of the alleged victims—is still part of the company and that he will support her in any way that he can.
“Stephanie has some demons she has to work through right now, and I am going to be as helpful as I can because she needs that support and needs that room. I am fully behind her,” Meaux said. “I want to give my support to the people that have been damaged by Will. Especially the young ladies, they have had something taken from them that is irreplaceable. Will has damaged me but it is something I can get back. I am going to grow Red Jacket Firearms and we are going to continue as a company doing what we love.”
Meaux also wanted to make sure that people understand that the gun industry is far more law-abiding than any others which it has to be; company officers and employees must undergo detailed background checks. He also wants people to know that Red Jacket Firearms is not going to be slowed down by the scandal surrounding Weill Hayden’s arrest.
Meaux and his team at the Baton Rouge-based store are working overtime to ensure that both the company is not associated with the ongoing criminal investigation surrounding Hayden.
“Don’t allow what Will Hayden has done to color the firearms industry or color Red Jacket Firearms. The family behind Red Jacket Firearms is still here, we are still doing all the cool stuff that you see on the show and more,” he said. “We have gotten out of the TV set building. The entire inventory is in one place; we will be able to continue forward with gunsmith workshops and other developments. No longer will we have Will Hayden’s drama.”