Story at a glance
- Lil Nas X and MSCHF Product Studio collaborated to create a line of sneakers called “Satan Shoes.”
- Satan Shoes were customized Nike Air Max 97s that featured the Nike “swoosh,” leading Nike to sue for trademark infringement.
- Lil Nas X was not a defendant in the lawsuit.
Nike announced on Thursday that the company that created “Satan Shoes” in a collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X had agreed to voluntarily recall the shoes as part of a legal settlement with the sports manufacturing giant.
Nike filed a trademark infringement lawsuit last week against MSCHF Product Studio over the sneakers, which hold Nike’s trademark “swoosh.”
The black-and-red Satan Shoes were customized Nike Air Max 97s, with “Luke 10:18,” the Bible verse detailing Satan’s fall from heaven, written on the side, and the midsoles were said to have contained a drop of human blood.
The sneaker collaboration between Lil Nas X and MSCHF Product Studio followed the rapper’s March release of a music video for his song “Montero (Call me By Your Name),” which also had a Satanic theme and featured the singer descending on a pole to hell, where he then gives Satan a lap dance.
Nike stated that MSCHF will offer full refunds to those who purchased its Satan Shoes and claimed that people had been confused as to who created the Satan Shoes due to Nike’s logo on them. MSCHF responded that the shoes were “individually-numbered works of art.”
David Bernstein, who is chairman of the intellectual property litigation group at Debevoise & Plimpton and represents MSCHF, said, “MSCHF intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance. Having already achieved its artistic purpose, MSCHF recognized that settlement was the best way to allow it to put this lawsuit behind it so that it could dedicate its time to new artistic and expressive projects.”
Lil Nas X was not a defendant in the lawsuit.
However, the 21-year-old is no stranger to controversy. His hit “Old Town Road” started debates over what qualifies as country music and an examination of its roots when it comes to race. Following his video and shoe release, some conservatives took to social media to criticize Lil Nas X’s choice of Satanic imagery.
Lil Nas X took to social media to defend himself, and a press release from him stated that the music video is an allegory addressing homophobia and sexuality. The singer, who publicly came out as gay in 2019, said that in the video he uses “his sexuality to seduce the devil and strip [him] of his power as an evil force” and “dismantling the throne of judgement and punishment that has kept many of us from embracing our true selves.”
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA