Discovery cancels ‘Sons of Guns’ after star is charged with child rape

Will Hayden inspecting the 20MM Lahti. (Sandy McDougall/Discovery)
Will Hayden inspecting the 20MM Lahti. (Sandy McDougall/Discovery)

On Wednesday, Discovery Channel confirmed the network has canceled its docu-series “Sons of Guns.” The news comes two weeks after TMZ reported that the show’s star, Will Hayden, was arrested in Louisiana on child molestation charges involving a 12-year-old child. Although he was released after posting bail, Hayden was arrested again on Tuesday with an added charge of alleged aggravated rape of a child.

“Given the serious and horrific nature of the charges against Will Hayden, we have decided to halt further production of ‘Sons of Guns’ and cancel the series,” the network said in a statement Wednesday.

According to an affidavit from the East Baton Rouge sheriff’s office, the girl was 11 when the alleged molestation started in March 2013. “The victim said that these acts occurred almost daily but would not report the acts due to receiving threats of physical abuse from the defendant,” the affidavit reads.

“Sons of Guns,” which followed Hayden and his Louisiana-based firearms business, had just completed its fifth season in May and was gearing up for a sixth. It debuted in 2011 and did well for Discovery in the ratings, especially with male viewers. In April, Discovery listed “Sons of Guns” as a returning series in its upfront slate for the 2014-2015 TV season. The press release described Will Hayden as “an American success story.”

“Having turned his Louisiana-based small business, Red Jacket Firearms, into a regional powerhouse, he’s ready for the next step for himself and his family,” the release said. “Like so many American small businesses, Will’s journey from garage-based gun shop to the pride of Baton Rouge is rife with personal sacrifices and some risky decisions.”

On Tuesday, Red Jacket Firearms announced via its Facebook page that Hayden is no longer affiliated with the store, as the company “has received complete legal separation as an entity, from Will Hayden.”

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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