Nike is suing art collective MSCHF for trademark infringement following their “Satan Shoe” collaboration with Lil Nas X.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, Nike alleges that the shoes — which went on sale Monday and sold out in minutes — were made without the company’s “approval or authorization,” Rolling Stone reports.
The shoe design is “likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike,” and has already resulted in “significant harm to [Nike’s] goodwill, including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism,” the lawsuit reads, according to Rolling Stone.
The modified batch of (unofficial) Nike Air Max 97s, dubbed “Satan Shoes,” are tied to the release of Lil Nas X’s new song “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and its controversial music video. Only (what else?) 666 pairs of the $1,018 shoes were offered.
The black-and-red sneakers feature a pentagon charm, text reading “LUKE 10:18” — which reads “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”— and a stamp showing the shoe’s number in the collection (e.g., 17/666).
They even contain a drop of real human blood, which a spokesperson for MSCHF told CNN was donated by members of their team.
The shoes, as well as the music video which features the musician taking a stripper pole to Hell, drew strong backlash online.
Nike referenced the criticism in its lawsuit, asking the court to force MSCHF to halt production on the shoes and award Nike monetary damages, according to CBS News.
This is not the first time MSCHF has redesigned Nike shoes. In 2019, the Brooklyn-based company released “Jesus Shoes,” a pair of Air Max 97s injected with water from the Jordan River. The shoes also had a crucifix attached to the laces and frankincense-scented insoles.
Nike did not file any lawsuit over the “Jesus Shoes,” according to Rolling Stone.
Lil Nas X is reportedly not listed as a defendant on the lawsuit, though he did address it on Twitter Monday, sharing a clip of Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants begging for money with the caption “me after the nike lawsuit.”
The rapper previously responded to his online critics, and he didn’t mince words when it came to defending himself, writing, “Y’all saying a gay n— twerking on a cgi satan is the end of times like slavery and the holocaust didn’t happen.”