Sports clothing giant Nike has followed up its condemnation of the Lil Nas X Satan sneakers with a lawsuit. It’s claiming trademark infringement.
The legal action was filed yesterday in the Eastern District of New York against the Brooklyn-based fashion company MSCHF Product Studio Inc, reports Portland Business Journal.
Among other products, MSCHF specializes in customizing sneakers and then re-selling them, often at a greatly increased price. It has previously produced a pair of ‘Jesus Shoes’ that allegedly had a drop of ‘Holy Water’ in their sole, taken from the River Jordan and blessed by a priest.
On Friday, Lil Nas X released his eagerly-awaited new single, ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’. The video features him as an angelic figure, cast out of Heaven, sliding down a pole into Hell, and then lap-dancing for Satan.
The video has prompted a wave of criticism from some evangelical Christians and right-wing lawmakers and commentators.
Over the weekend, Lil Nas X revealed he’d collaborated up with MSCHF on a limited-edition, customized Nike Air Max 97.
The shoes feature Satanic-inspired details, like a pentagram brooch, and a reference to a Biblical quote about Satan being cast out of Heaven: Luke 10:18 (“He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’”).
The shoes also reportedly contain a drop of human blood in their sole, courtesy of MSCHF co-founder Daniel Greenberg and some other staffers, according to Complex.
The shoes were limited to only 666 pairs (that being mentioned as the number of the beast in the Bible). They were on sale for $1,018 (another reference to Luke 10:18). Yesterday, Lil Nas X revealed that shoes sold out in less than one minute.
On social media, some have blasted Nike for the shoes and called for a boycott of the company. This led to Nike issuing a statement yesterday saying they did not authorize them and had nothing to do with their production.
— SAINT (@saint) March 29, 2021
“Nike filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF today related to the Satan Shoes,” the brand said. “We don’t have any further details to share on pending legal matters. However, we can tell you we do not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF. The Satan Shoes were produced without Nike’s approval or authorization, and Nike is in no way connected with this project.”
Nike has asked a federal judge to order the destruction of all the shoes and award any profits MSCHF makes from the sneakers to Nike. It is also seeking punitive damages.
Lil Nas X previously told Complex that his video was inspired by the way he had been demonized in the past because of his sexuality. The rapper came out as gay in 2019 while his hugely-successful ‘Old Town Road’ was at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
“People already demonize who I am and put me in a painting of, ‘OK, he’s evil, he’s doing this, he’s doing that. So it’s like, you know what? You know what? I’ll take that, I’ll be that, and I’m going to make the best of it.”
In a tweet over the weekend, Lik Nas X responded to some of the criticism he was getting from some religious folk.
i spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay. so i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.
— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 27, 2021
He posted a series of tweets yesterday evening that suggested he wasn’t particularly fazed by news of the Nike lawsuit against MSCHF.
me after the nike lawsuit pic.twitter.com/XVLjHlSrru
— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 29, 2021
me at nike headquarters tomorrow pic.twitter.com/iAAdjc8Ele
— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 29, 2021
me and satan on the way to nike headquarters pic.twitter.com/3OaQV6pu83
— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 30, 2021