Nike was not involved in MSCHF’s “Satan Shoes,” a collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X, and they want the world to know it. To drum home their point, they’ve filed a temporary restraining order against the company to halt all sales of the sneakers.
The company embellished a modified pair of Nike Air Max 97 sneakers with a pentagram and injected them with ink and a single drop of blood. The collaboration accompanied a music video from Lil Nas X titled “Montero.” In the video, he plays a fallen Angel who seduces the devil by giving him a lapdance before snapping his neck and killing him.
The video sparked an intense debate on social media about artistic license and the perceived corruption of young minds. The video was a lot to digest.
Despite the backlash, Lil Nas X remained defiant, fiercely defending both his video and the sneaker.
When the sneaker was first announced online, many on social media assumed the “Montero” singer had teamed up with the sneaker giants. Some threatened to boycott the brand over the human blood shoes, while others were simply disgusted.
Nike wants no parts of the shoes. They quickly released a statement before filing a lawsuit against MSCHF “trademark infringement and dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nike’s attorney’s argued in court that it had “submitted evidence that even sophisticated sneakerheads were confused.” The legal team also stressed that it had “submitted numerous evidence that some consumers are saying they will never buy Nike shoes ever again.”
MSCHF says all but one of the 666 pairs of sneakers have been sold.
“Contrary to Nike’s speculation in its papers, all but one pair of the shoes already have been sold and shipped. MSCHF has no intention of issuing additional Satan Shoes,” MSCHF’s attorneys wrote in response to the Nike suit. They had planned to give away the last pair on April 2nd, but its plans are now on hold due to the lawsuit.
The brand affirms the sneaker is art and covered under the first amendment — the freedom of speech.
“We believe it is better to make art that participates directly in its subject matter; it is stronger to do a thing, than to talk about a thing,” the statement reads. “MSCHF makes artworks that live directly in the systems they critique, instead of hiding inside white- walled galleries. There is no better way to start a conversation about consumer culture than by participating in consumer culture.”
In 2019, the brand released its “Jesus Shoes,” a modified pair of Nike Air Max 97 decorated with a golden Jesus on a crucifix as a shoelace charm and injected with holy water. The “Jesus Shoes” went on sale for $1,425 but later sold for as high as $4,000 on resale websites.
Nike did not file any lawsuits or restraining orders against the brand despite some pushback from consumers.
They also address the double standard in its statement:
“Last week’s release of the Satan Shoes, in collaboration with Lil Nas X, was no different. Satan Shoes started a conversation, while also living natively in its space. It is art created for people to observe, speculate on, purchase, and own. Heresy only exists in relation to doctrine: who is Nike to censor one but not the other? Satan is as much part of the art historical canon as Jesus, from Renaissance Hellmouths to Milton. Satan exists as the challenger to the ultimate authority. We were delighted to work with Lil Nas X on Satan Shoes and continue this dialogue.”
While Nike may have reasonable cause to feel uncomfortable about the “Satan Shoes,” turning a blind eye to the sneaker’s heavenly counterpart could score MSCHF a future win in court.
Originally posted 2021-04-02 11:00:00.