Nike has won its lawsuit against the Brooklyn art collective MSCHF over their ‘Satan Shoes’ controversy that contains a drop of real human blood on the soles of his feet.
The $ 1,018 (£ 740) trainers are basically a modified version of Nike Air Max 97s that feature an inverted cross, a pentagram and the words “Luke 10:18”.
MSCHF produced the shoes in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X.
It said only 666 pairs were made and all have been shipped out to the buyers already.
Nike has reported a breach of the trademark, asking a federal court in New York to suspend MSCHF from selling shoes and bar them from using its famous Swoosh.
“MSCHF and its unauthorised Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike,” the sports shoe giant said in the lawsuit.
Lawyers for MSCHF countered that the 666 pairs it created were “not typical sneakers, but rather individually-numbered works of art that were sold to collectors for $1,018 each”.
In favor of Nike, the state judge issued an interim restraining order Thursday.
The ‘Satan’ Shoes
The impact of this decision remains unclear as MSCHF has stated it has no plans to re-produce the shoes.
MSCHF “dropped” black and red shoes on Monday, coinciding with the launch of Lil Nas X’s latest song Montero (Call Me By Your Name), which first appeared on YouTube last Friday.
The song features the rapper, who came out gay in 2019, celebrating his sexuality and refusing attempts to humiliate him.
In a style music video, he slides a pole from heaven to hell before dancing with arousal and Satan, then cuts off his neck and steals his horns.
The pictures and shoes point to a Bible verse in Luke 10:18 – “So He told them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’.”
Each shoe also features a signature Nike air bubble cushioning sole, containing 60 cubic centimetres (2.03 fluid ounces) of red ink and a single drop of human blood, donated by members of the MSCHF art collective.
When filing a U.S. District Court in New York State, Nike said it did not endorse or authorize the customized Satan Shoes.
“There is already evidence of widespread confusion and refinement in the markets, including Nike’s boycott calls to respond to the launch of the MSCHF Satellite Shoes, due to the mistaken belief that Nike approved or endorsed the product,” it said.
The lawsuit quoted a tweet by celebrity shoe influencer @Saint from last Friday, which teased the upcoming release of the shoes and drummed up publicity over the weekend on social media and in the media in the US.
Some conservatives, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and some religious followers, took offence at the controversial design of the shoes and criticised Lil Nas X and MSCHF on Twitter.
Lil Nas X hit back at the governor and other critics on Twitter, tweeting several memes on his profile in response to the Nike lawsuit.