Nike sues company that made Satan Shoes with Lil Nas X
LOS ANGELES – Athletic shoe maker Nike Inc on Monday sued a New York-based company that produced Satan Shoes purported to contain a drop of human blood as part of a collaboration with US rapper Lil Nas X.
Nike said in the lawsuit that the company, MSCHF Product Studio Inc, infringed on and diluted its trademark with the black-and-red, devil-themed sneakers, which went on sale online on Monday.
Lil Nas X is not named as a defendant in the suit.
The shoes are customised Nike Air Max 97 sneakers that feature a bronze pentagram, a Bible verse referring to Satan’s fall and contains red ink and “one drop of human blood” in the sole, according to a website describing the 666 pairs of limited edition shoes.
The back of one shoe says “MSCHF” and the other says “Lil Nas X”.
Several media outlets reported that the shoes sold out in less than one minute at a cost of US$1,018 (S$1,371) per pair.
Lil Nas X said on Twitter he would choose the recipient of the 666th pair from social media users who circulated one of his tweets.
The Satan Shoes are a follow-up to MSCHF’s Jesus Shoes – white Nike Air Max 97s which contained holy water in the sole.
Nike did not sue over that product line.
In its lawsuit filed in federal court in New York, the brand said the shoes were produced “without Nike’s approval and authorisation”, and it was “in no way connected with this project”.
“There is already evidence of significant confusion and dilution occurring in the marketplace, including calls to boycott Nike in response to the launch of MSCHF’s Satan Shoes based on the mistaken belief that Nike has authorised or approved this product,” the lawsuit said.
Nike asked the court to immediately stop MSCHF from fulfilling orders for the shoes and requested a jury trial to seek damages.
The 21-year-old Grammy-winning music star last Friday released a lusty video for new song Montero (Call Me By Your Name) in which he gives the devil a lap dance.
In it, he celebrates his sexuality and queerness – the artist came out in 2019 – pole dancing in stilettos down to hell.
The song, its accompanying video and the sneakers triggered pearl-clutching among many conservatives, including the governor of the state of South Dakota.
“Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it’s ‘exclusive’. But do you know what’s more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win,” Kristi Noem tweeted Sunday.
A meme king adept at Twitter trolling, Lil Nas X replied with a number of barbs mocking the outcry, along with a more to-the-point message: “ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!”
He has continued to use the lawsuit to channel attention towards his song – though in a more earnest message, he wrote: “i’ll be honest all this backlash is putting an emotional toll on me. i try to cover it with humor but it’s getting hard.”
“My anxiety is higher than ever,” he added, before returning to brand. “And stream call me by your name on all platforms now!” - REUTERS/AFP