by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Nike has filed suit over Lil Nas X's customized Satan sneakers. The sports clothing megabrand filed suit in a New York federal court against the sneakers' creators, MSCHF Product Studio Inc.
"Nike filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF today related to the Satan Shoes," the company said in a March 29 statement.
"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 released his heavily promoted new single, "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" on March 26. The video features him as fallen angel, cast out of heaven and sliding down a stripper pole into hell. He then lap-dances for Satan.
Lil Nas X said 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 blockbuster "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,'" he explained.
"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."
MSCHF produced the shoes as a limited edition promotion based on the video. Lil Nas X revealed he collaborated up with MSCHF on the shoes, customized Nike Air Max 97s.
The shoes feature Satanic-inspired details, like a pentagram brooch, and a reference to a Bible verse, 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.
The shoes were limited to only 666 pairs (that being the number of the Beast in Revelations). They went on sale for $1,018 (another reference to Luke 10:18). According to Lil Nas X, the shoes sold out in less than one minute.
MSCHF specializes in customizing sneakers and then reselling them, often at a huge markup. 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.
The custom sneakers created a public relations nightmare for Nike, with some Christians calling for a boycott of the company. This led Nike to issue a statement saying they did not authorize the shoes and had nothing to do with their production. The statement was followed by the federal lawsuit.