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Nike launches lawsuit over Lil Nas X’s Satan Shoes

By | Published on Tuesday 30 March 2021

Satan Shoes

Nike has sued a company called MSCHF over its latest product, a collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X called Satan Shoes. Limited to 666 pairs, the shoes are actually Nike Air Max 97s, but with the air sole filled with red ink and (they claim) one drop of human blood. A pentagram has also been hung off the laces.

Lil Nas X unveiled the modified trainers last week, alongside his new single ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ and its accompanying video, which sees him giving Satan a lapdance. Both the shoes and the video whipped up some controversy among Christian social media users thus ensuring that they went viral quickly – with the rapper gleefully stoking those flames. When the Satan Shoes actually went on sale on Monday, they sold out almost instantly, despite a hefty $1018 price tag.

Nike itself has now sued MSCHF claiming that the unauthorised adaptation of its footwear is damaging its brand. Many of those offended by the shoes, says the lawsuit, believe that Nike was involved in the creation of the product, which it was not. As a result, it is now being accused of promoting Satanism, with calls for a boycott of the brand at large.

“Nike has not [approved] and does not [approve] of MSCHF’s customised Satan Shoes”, it says. “Moreover, MSCHF and its unauthorised Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike. In fact, 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”.

It also adds that “making changes to the midsole may pose safety risks for consumers”. And maybe that’s the most Satanic thing about the whole project.

Lil Nas X isn’t named as a defendant on the lawsuit, which seeks an immediate injunction against MSCHF, blocking the company from fulfilling orders of the shoes. MSCHF has not yet responded to the legal action, but its CEO Gabe Whaley did previously confirm to AP that Nike “did not have any involvement whatsoever” in the project.

The Satan Shoes are actually a companion to a run of Jesus Shoes sold by MSCHF in 2019, which were launched without incident. Although, MSCHF is a company that seems to focus on products that will launch with some incident. Or at least, that have some gimmick that might send them viral. Which has resulted in them making all sorts of weird nonsense. Have a read of this Business Insider profile.

Meanwhile, Lil Nas X himself may not be a target of Nike’s legal action, but that doesn’t mean he’s not being accused of ripping anyone off. Posting on TikTok last week, director Andrew Thomas Huang pointed out similarities between his video for FKA Twigs’ ‘Cellophane’ and the new video for ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’. Adding a message to the rapper, he wrote: “Take me off your mood board or hire me”.

Expanding on his theme, in an Instagram story post the director explained that Lil Nas X’s record label Columbia had actually contacted him about working on a video but had “pivoted away”, before hiring the same choreographer who worked on ‘Cellophane’, Kelly Yvonne.

“Consider the power you wield and the artists you harm when you capitalise on our blood, sweat, tears and emotional labour”, he wrote, tagging Lil Nas X, Columbia and Tanu Muino, who co-directed the ‘Montero’ video with the rapper.

So, even more controversy. What fun. Satan, of course, was unavailable for comment.