Nike is running away from the controversial “Satan Shoes” released by MSCHF Product Studio and rapper Lil Nas X.
The sporting goods giant filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit Monday against MSCHF, the company distributing the shoes, according to NBC News. The “Old Town Road” rapper, real name Montero Lamar Hill, was not named as a defendant in the suit.
The black and red sneakers are modified Nike Air Max 97s, decorated with a pentagram pendant on top and pentagram designs on the heels. The soles contain red ink and one drop of human blood, according to MSCHF. The shoes are emblazoned with Luke 10:18, the Bible passage about Satan’s fall from heaven. Priced at $1,018 a set, all 666 pairs of the shoes sold out shortly after going on sale Monday, MSCHF said.
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MSCHF x Lil Nas X "Satan Shoes"
-Sole contains 60cc ink and 1 drop of human blood
-666 individually numbered pairs
-Releasing 3.29 at 11am ET pic.twitter.com/YHqhc7nPBu
— JustFreshKicks (@JustFreshKicks) March 26, 2021
In its lawsuit filed in New York federal court, Nike said Brooklyn streetwear company MSCHF altered its trademarked product without permission.
“The material alterations include at least referring to the shoe as the Satan Shoe, adding red ink and human blood to the midsole, adding red embroidered satanic-themed detailing, adding a bronze pentagram to the laces, and adding a new sock liner,” the lawsuit states. “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 authorized or approved this product.”
The shoes followed the weekend release of Lil Nas X’s new single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” In the accompanying music video, the rapper gives the devil a lap dance.
Parents and conservative groups slammed the video and the shoes on social media. Among the critics, South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who bashed the sneakers.
“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,” Noem tweeted Sunday. “We are in a fight for the soul of our nation.”
In response to the criticism, Lil Nas X posted a short video on YouTube Sunday titled “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe.” The video shows the rapper holding the sneaker, then it cuts to a clip from “Montero” showing the music star giving the devil a lap dance. Not exactly the apology some critics expected.