‘Satan Shoe’ maker ordered to stop filling requests following Nike lawsuit
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April 7, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Nike is suing MSCHF, the company behind the controversial “Satan Shoes” released in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X on March 30, for trademark infringement. A court subsequently ordered MSCHF to cease fulfilling orders for their demonically customized version of Nike’s Air Max 97 shoe.
MSCHF had released the hell-inspired shoe just a day after Nike lodged a legal complaint against the aftermarket design company. The “art collective” based its design on a pair of Nike Air Max 97s, adding a bronze pentagram pendant, inverted cross symbols, and purportedly “1 drop human blood,” drawn from MSCHF employees, mixed with red ink in the windowed sole section. The company sold out of all 666 pairs within a few minutes of their release, despite retailing at more than a thousand dollars apiece.
Nike’s lawsuit “argues that Nike must maintain control over its brand ‘by setting the record straight’ about what products bear its distinctive ‘swoosh’ logo,” reported NBC News. “In fact, 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 authorized or approved this product.”
At the time, Nike told LifeSiteNews that it does “not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF.” Nike further distanced themselves from the “Satan Shoes” project, claiming that they “did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.”
A U.S. federal judge ruled in favor of Nike on April 1, allowing its motion for a restraining order on MSCHF that prohibits the sale of the custom footwear and any use of Nike’s trademarks by MSCHF. Lil Nas X, an open homosexual and outspoken proponent of the homosexual lifestyle, was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Nike wrote to the court the morning before the pronouncement, telling the judge that “MSCHF’s conduct has caused immense confusion about the source of MSCHF’s infringing shoes and tarnished Nike’s brand with an unwarranted association with satanism.”
The sneaker retailer noted that 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 authorized or approved this product.”
The judge subsequently noted that MSCHF’s Satan Shoes are “likely to confuse, and likely are confusing, consumers about the origin, sponsorship, or approval” from Nike, with a likelihood to cause “irreparable harm” to Nike’s reputation.
Brooklyn-based MSCHF released its own statement on the judge’s ruling and, indeed, Nike’s decision to swiftly pursue legal action, at which they were “honestly surprised.”
“MSCHF is a conceptual art collective known for interventions that engage fashion, art, tech, and capitalism in various, often unexpected, mediums,” the statement read. “MSCHF makes artworks that live directly in the systems they critique, instead of hiding inside white-walled galleries. There is no better way to start a conversation about consumer culture than by participating in consumer culture.”
Their statement added that “(l)ast week's release of the Satan Shoes, in collaboration with Lil Nas X, was no different.” The company boasted that “Satan Shoes started a conversation … It is art created for people to observe, speculate on, purchase, and own.”
Taking a jab at Nike, MSCHF complained that the sportswear giant was acting inconsistently, given that they did not raise a legal complaint over the art collective’s earlier “Jesus Shoe” release, also based on the Air Max 97 design and customized with a crucifix pendant and a sample of water from the river Jordan in the sole. According to MSCHF lawyers, the Jesus Shoe made “just as big of a societal impact,” without attracting the ire of Nike’s public relations department.
“Heresy only exists in relation to doctrine: who is Nike to censor one but not the other? Satan is as much part of the art historical canon as Jesus, from Renaissance Hellmouths to Milton. Satan exists as the challenger to the ultimate authority,” MSCHFs statement continued. “We were delighted to work with Lil Nas X on Satan Shoes and continue this dialogue.”
During a court hearing, MSCHFs legal counsel stated that the vast majority of the offending products, more than 600 pairs, had already been shipped to customers, rendering Nike’s court success pointless.