Reality show canceled in wake of star’s rape arrest

The Discovery Channel on Wednesday announced the cancellation of “Sons of Guns,” a reality TV show about a Baton Rouge gun shop, after the show’s star was arrested Tuesday on accusations of rape.

“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,” said Laurie Goldberg, a Discovery Channel spokeswoman, referring to the show’s star by name.

The cancellation comes after William M. Hayden, 49, was arrested twice this month on accusations of sex crimes with a minor.

Goldberg did not respond to additional questions about the show’s cancellation, which included an inquiry into whether the show was currently filming.

The authorities first arrested Hayden in early August after a woman told detectives she saw a naked Hayden kissing a young girl inappropriately inside his Greenwell Springs Road home. The second arrest came Tuesday after the girl told detectives with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office in a follow-up interview that Hayden raped her many times between March 2013 and June 2014, according to affidavits in support of warrants for his arrest.

The girl told detectives, according to the latest affidavit, that she didn’t disclose the alleged rapes when first questioned by investigators because she feared retaliation from Hayden.

Red Jacket Firearms LLC, a gun shop located just north of South Choctaw Drive near Monterrey Boulevard in Baton Rouge, cut legal ties on Tuesday with Hayden, its founder, following his latest arrest.

The business promised its customers in a statement that it would continue to operate without Hayden. His daughter, Stephanie Ford, manages the shop and also starred in the show. Both Ford and the business issued statements in support of Hayden when he was first arrested on Aug. 8.

Hayden’s attorney, C. Frank Holthaus, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Hayden remained jailed on one count of aggravated rape in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Wednesday in lieu of $250,000 bail. Following his arrest earlier this month, he posted a $150,000 bail within hours and was released.

“Sons of Guns,” which first aired in 2011, aired its final episode in May. The show, which followed Hayden, Ford and several other people involved in manufacturing and selling custom-made guns, was in its fifth season.

Attempts to reach representatives for Red Jacket Firearms LLC on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Follow Ben Wallace on Twitter, @_BenWallace.