Nike sued Brooklyn, New York-based design studio MSCHF in federal court Monday over the controversial “Satan Shoes” it produced in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X.
The shoes, which have seriously triggered conservatives, are a product tie-in with Lil Nas’ wild fantasy video for his song “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” which includes a scene of him writhing on Satan’s lap.
A limited edition of 666 pairs of the shoes, which each contain a drop of reportedly donated human blood, went on sale Monday. They sold out in less than a minute, CNN reported.
Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hillk, kept the first pair. The sales price was $1,018, a reference to Bible passage Luke 10:18: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
Nike’s lawsuit, filed in New York’s Eastern District, accused MSCHF of trademark infringement. It argued that “unauthorized” shoes are “likely to cause confusion and dilution, and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike.”
“Decisions about what products to put the ‘swoosh’ on belong to Nike, not to third parties like MSCHF,” the suit added.
The shoes are “customized Nike Air Max 97 shoes that MSCHF has materially altered to prominently feature a satanic theme,” the lawsuit noted. “This was done without Nike’s approval or authorization, and Nike is in no way connected with this project.”
The shoes have red highlights, and a satanic pentagram.
Nike argued that it “suffered significant harm to its goodwill, including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism.” The suit noted that there have already been calls for a Nike boycott “based on the mistaken belief that Nike has authorized or approved this product.”
The company said it “has not and does not approve or authorize MSCHF’s customized Satan Shotes,” and seeks to set the “record straight.”
Nike asks a judge to “immediately and permanently” stop MSCHF from “filling any orders for the Satan Shoes.”
MSCHF could not immediately be reached for comment. It stated earlier that Nike was not connected to the shoes in any way.
Lil Nas X responded to the suit by posting a cartoon of a “SpongeBob SquarePants” character saying: “You guys know I was just kidding, right?”
When the controversy erupted the day after the rapper released the music video, he angrily responded to the backlash in a tweet.
“I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay,” he wrote. “So i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”
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