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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Explained: Why is Nike suing the maker of ‘Satan Shoes’ with human blood?

In its claim, Nike alleged that MSCHF’s devil-inspired shoes infringed on and diluted its trademark. However, Lil Nas X is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

By: Explained Desk | Vasco |
Updated: April 8, 2021 9:40:30 am
The shoes were launched in collaboration with Lil Nas X, just in time for the release of his latest single ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’. (Source: Twitter)

Sportswear giant Nike is suing New York-based art collective and streetwear brand, MSCHF Product Studio, Inc., over a controversial pair of sneakers, dubbed “Satan Shoes”, which contain a drop of real human blood in its soles. The limited edition $1,018 sneakers were the product of a collaboration between the brand and American hip hop artist Lil Nas X.

In its claim, Nike alleged that MSCHF’s devil-inspired shoes infringed on and diluted its trademark. However, Lil Nas X is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. “There is already evidence of significant confusion and dilution occurring in the marketplace, including calls to boycott Nike in response to the launch of MSCHF’s Satan Shoes based on the mistaken belief that Nike has authorised or approved this product,” the lawsuit stated.

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The controversial shoes were sold out less than a minute after 666 pairs went on sale for the first time on Monday.

So, what are the ‘Satan Shoes’?

On Monday, MSCHF released a modified pair of black and red Satan-inspired Nike Air Max 97 sneakers, complete with a bronze pentagram charm and 60 cubic centimetres of red ink and a single drop of human blood, obtained from the apparel brand’s own employees, in the mid-sole.

According to the New York Times, the blood from around six MSCHF employees were mixed and added into the shoe’s soles. They also have ‘Luke 10:18’ written on them, referencing a verse from the Gospel of Luke, which reads, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”

This is not the first time MSCHF has made a biblical reference in one of its products. Previously, the brand released a pair of ‘Jesus shoes’ — modified Nike Air Max 97s with holy water drawn from the River Jordan in its soles.

The shoes were launched in collaboration with Lil Nas X, just in time for the release of his latest single ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’. In the music video, the musician is seen playing both a fallen angel and a demon. At one point, he dances provocatively with the devil, before snapping his neck and ripping off his horns.

In a video shared on Sunday titled ‘Lil Nas X Apologises for Satan Shoe’, the rapper starts speaking and before he can apologise, the video cuts to a clip from ‘Montero’.

Why doesn’t Nike approve of MSCHF’s latest offering?

In its filing with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Nike said that it did not approve or authorise MSCHF’s customised Satan Shoes. It notes that a number of social media users have also threatened to boycott the sportswear brand due to the controversial new sneakers.

Nike asked the court to order MSCHF to “permanently stop” fulfilling orders of the Satan Shoes. In interviews with a number of media outlets this week, Nike asserted that it had nothing to do with the sneakers.

“In the short time since the announcement of the Satan Shoes, Nike has suffered significant harm to its goodwill, including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism,” Nike said in its complaint. The company also claimed that the modifications made to the shoe’s midsole “may post safety risks for consumers”.

Lil Nas X was not named in the lawsuit.

What was the response on social media?

Several conservatives in the US and Christians were offended by MSCHF’s latest offering. In a tweet shared on Sunday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem shared a picture of the shoes and wrote, “Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it’s ‘exclusive’. But do you know what’s more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win.”

A number of social media users have also criticised the new shoes. “Won’t buy Nike again. You are banned!” one user tweeted. “This is sickening!!! How is Nike not involved when there’s a Nike symbol on the shoe!!!” another tweet read.

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