Nike has responded to the controversial pair of shoes produced by Brooklyn based art collective MSCHF by filing a lawsuit.  The shoes feature an inverted cross, a pentagram and the words “Luke 10:18”, and reportedly a drop of real human blood. They were  made using modified Nike Air Max 97s, which is where the sportswear giant’s issues lie. 

The shoes, despite their controversy, have proved a huge success, with all 666 pairs released on Monday selling out in less than a minute.

The adapted black and red shoes by MSCHF were produced and launched to coincide with the launch of Lil Nas X’s latest song Montero (Call Me By Your Name).  The video for the song debuted last Friday and provoked a huge reaction.   In the video, the infamous rapper slides down a stripper pole from heaven to hell wearing a pair of the trainers.

Lil Nas X stated that the imagery combined with the trainers is actually a  reference to the Bible verse Luke 10:18 – “So He told them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’.”  As a result of the combination of the video and the fact that each shoe contains 60 cubic centimetres (2.03 fluid ounces) of red ink and a single drop of human blood, donated by members of the art collective, in the air bubble cushioning sole, the shoes have now become the centre of an unfolding legal dispute. 

 Filing its claim with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York the sports shoe giant has stated that it does not approve or authorise the customised Satan Shoes.  Nike have also requested that MSCHF be prohibited from using the famous Nike ‘Swoosh’ and be stopped from selling the shoes.  In the lawsuit, Nike have said “MSCHF and its unauthorised Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike.  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 authorised or approved this product.”

In a distinct sign of our social media led times, Nike have cited a tweet in their lawsuit by popular shoe influencer @Saint, which teased the upcoming release of the shoes in an effort to increase the publicity around the so-called ‘Satan Shoes’ in the U.S.

The publicity has been the spark for consternation from leading Conservative voices, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and as might be expected, a host of some religious social media users. 

Many have taken offence at the design of the shoes and criticised both Lil Nas X and MSCHF on Twitter.  It appears Nike’s lawsuit is an effort to distance itself from the criticism. 

Lil Nas X however, appears to be standing his ground, hitting back at both the governor and tweeting several memes relating to news of the Nike lawsuit as it broke.

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