Judge Grants Nike's Request to Block Sale of Lil Nas X's Controversial Sneakers
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A U.S. District Court in New York has granted Nike a temporary restraining order against a Brooklyn-based agency that had collaborated with artist Lil Nas X on a pair of controversial sneakers, CBS News reports.
The order prevents art collective MSCHF from continuing to sell a version of the Air Max 97s — otherwise known as the "Satan Shoes" — that were purportedly customized to contain one drop of human blood.
"Nike filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF today related to the Satan Shoes," the sneaker and apparel company told CBS News yesterday. "We don't have any further details to share on pending legal matters. However, we can tell you we do not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF. The Satan Shoes were produced without Nike's approval or authorization, and Nike is in no way connected with this project."
Still, MSCHF argued that the restraining order would have no impact on the agency, saying that a majority of the 666 sneakers had already been shipped to customers. Nike's attorney cast doubts on that assertion, claiming MSCHF had hurt Nike's reputation by not disclosing that the two companies were not collaborators on the sneakers, which cost $1,018 a shoe. Consequently, Nike's lawyer added, some customers have boycotted Nike for its presumed ties to Satanism. The sneaker giant now wants MSCHF to stop all orders in transit.
In response, MSCHF told CBS News that Nike's case had no merit because the sneaker company did not similarly take action when the agency released a pair of "Jesus Shoes" — which were a pair of Air Max 97s that contained holy water. MSCHF's lawyer also said that the agency's customers were smart enough to know that the sneakers were not affiliated with Nike.
The "Satan Shoes" were released in conjunction with Lil Nas X's single "MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name)." According to CBS News, the price is in reference to the Bible passage Luke 10:18, which says, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."
Even before this latest legal back-and-forth between Nike and MSCHF, the artist addressed all the criticismfrom conservative pundits. "I’ll be honest all this backlash is putting an emotional toll on me," he tweeted on Monday. "I try to cover it with humor but it’s getting hard. my anxiety is higher than ever and stream call me by your name on all platforms now!"