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Nike Sues Creator Of Lil Nas X’s “Satan Shoes”

The retail giant filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Brooklyn-based brand MSCHF for customizing Nike’s Air Max 97’s with Satanic imagery.

Rapper Lil Nas X poses with the "Satan Shoes" created by MSCHF. The customized Nike Air Max 97 features red stitching, a pentagram, and a drop of blood in the sole. | MSCHF
Rapper Lil Nas X poses with the "Satan Shoes" created by MSCHF. The customized Nike Air Max 97 features red stitching, a pentagram, and a drop of blood in the sole. | MSCHF

Nike has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the creator of the viral and controversial “Satan Shoes” created as part of a promotion for rapper Lil Nas X’s new song. 

The retail giant filed the lawsuit this week against Brooklyn-based company MSCHF, which customized Nike Air Max 97 sneakers by adding red stitching, a pentagram, an upside-down cross, and a drop of human blood in the sole of the shoe. The shoes went on sale Monday.

“We do not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF,” Nike told NowThis in a statement. “The Satan Shoes were produced without Nike’s approval or authorization, and Nike is in no way connected with this project.”

Lil Nas X, 21, who according to multiple reports was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, collaborated with MSCHF to create the shoe as part of a promotion for his song, “Montero (Call Me by Your Name).” The song’s devil-themed music video attracted attention on social media, particularly among conservatives who condemned the hellish scenes. In the psychedelic- and glitter-imbued video, Lil Nas X pole dances into hell and gives the devil a lap dance. 

Nike said it could not comment further on “pending legal matters.” But several outlets obtained a copy of the lawsuit in which the company said that the “unauthorized Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike.” The brand also reportedly said the shoe has caused “significant harm” to Nike’s goodwill, “including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism.”

After the shoes were released, many people were using the hashtag #BoycottNike, and others said they were rethinking ever wearing the brand again, including NBA player Nick Young. Young added that his kids will not be listening to Lil Nas X’s breakout hit “Old Town Road.” 

Some people on social media pointed out that MSCHF had previously altered Nike sneakers for its similarly viral “Jesus shoe” in 2019 featuring a crucifix and holy water from the Jordan River. Nike didn’t sue at the time.

Lil Nas X and his fans have spent several days defending the music video and song, which celebrate the rapper embracing his sexuality.

On Monday, only 666 pairs of the “Satan Shoes” were for sale and priced at slightly more than $1,000 each. The shoes have all sold out, according to the brand’s website.

“Decisions about what products to put the ‘swoosh’ on belong to Nike, not to third parties like MSCHF,” Nike said in its lawsuit, according to the New York Times. “Nike requests that the court immediately and permanently stop MSCHF from fulfilling all orders for its unauthorized Satan Shoes.”

Lil Nas X has made several jokes on Twitter about the lawsuit, while MSCHF has not publicly commented.

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