Nike is filing a lawsuit over Lil Nas X’s new line of Satan shoes for trademark infringement, claiming that the shoes caused “significant harm to its goodwill, including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism.” The statement was made after several consumers threatened to boycott Nike products over the ordeal.
The lawsuit is not against the “Old Town Road” singer himself; it’s against the design company he collaborated with, called MSCHF. The shoes, featuring Nike’s signature Swoosh, were allegedly made without Nike’s approval. They were modeled after Nike Air Max 97s and redesigned. It’s “likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike,” the lawsuit says.
Lil Nas X responded humorously:
666 pairs of Satan shoes were manufactured, each containing a drop of real human blood donated by team members at MSCHF. The bright red sneakers are labeled “LUKE 10:18,” a line spoken by Jesus that states, “I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” A charm in the shape of a pentagram, the symbol of satanism, is attached to it, inscribed with both “MSCHF” and “LIL NAS X.” Each pair of shoes is individually numbered (ex. 2/666) and are priced at 1,018 USD. The collection sold out within one minute.
The shoes have unsurprisingly drawn sharp criticism from Catholic online communities. One Twitter user unironically said, “The world is ending right in front of our eyes.”
Governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem wrote on Twitter, “Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, but ‘exclusive.’ But do you know what’s more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul.”
Lil Nas X responded, “ur [sic] a whole governor and u out here tweeting about some d*mn shoes. do ur job!”
In response to a video of a pastor criticizing the shoe line, Lil Nas X said, “[W]e are in a pandemic & there is a mass shooting every week but y’all are gathering in church to discuss shoes.”
The Satan shoes are not MSCHF’s first shoe line modeled after Nike. Previously, they manufactured Jesus shoes, which each contained a drop of ‘holy’ water from the Jordan River and a crucifix charm. Although the two designs were modeled after the same Nike shoe, Nike did not file any lawsuits against the Jesus shoes.
MSCHF’s Satan shoes were released as a publicity stunt for Lil Nas X’s newest single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and its music video, which may be more controversial than the shoes themselves. The track title “Montero” is Lil Nas X’s birth name, and it recounts his personal experiences dealing with his sexuality. The openly gay artist shared a short letter he had written to his younger self. In it, he admits that “this is very scary for me […], people will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the f*** out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be.”