A New York U.S. District Court on Wednesday approved Nike’s request for a temporary restraining order against MSCHF, the art collective that collaborated with the rapper to create a pair of sneakers containing “a drop” of human blood. They used modified Nike Air Max 97s for the collaboration.
“Nike filed an infringement and trademark dilution complaint against MSCHF today regarding the Satan footwear,” Nike told CBS News in a statement Thursday. “We have no further details to share on the pending legal issues. However, we can tell you that we do not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF. The Satan shoes were produced without the approval or permission of Nike, and Nike is not in any way related to this project. ”
The court order says the Brooklyn-based agency cannot fulfill any orders. In a hearing Thursday morning, MSCHF’s lawyer said the majority of the shoes, over 600 pairs, had already been shipped to individual consumers, arguing that this rendered Nike’s claims irrelevant.
Nike’s attorney said he had “serious doubts” about MSCHF’s ability to ship and deliver the 665 pairs of shoes in recent days. Even if it did, the lawyer argued, it would not eliminate the “irreparable harm” caused by the shoes.
He argued that shipping the shoes does not remove the “aftermarket confusion and delusion” experienced by Nike customers. Nike said MSCHF’s marketing and social media prominently featured the Nike brand “swoosh,” without public denial or disassociation with Nike.
Nike said some customers are now boycotting the brand online for its apparent association with Satan. The company wants MSCHF to stop all orders currently in transit and collect them.
As of Monday, 665 pairs of devil-themed sneakers, priced at $ 1,018, sold out in just one minute. Fans were able to enter a contest to win the final 666th pair of shoes, but lawyers said the draw is currently on hold.
During the hearing, MSCHF said the shoes are art – a critique of the culture of collaboration and a critique of how “Nike will collaborate with anyone.” The lawyers referred to the accompanying work, the “, “Which had” an equally important social impact “, but was not prosecuted.
MSCHF made a similar point in a statement to CBS News. “Heresy only exists in relation to doctrine,” the company said. “Who is Nike to censor one but not the other?” ”
MSCHF’s lawyer also alleged that the buyers of the shoes are sophisticated sneakerheads, who would not believe the shoes were affiliated with Nike, and who did not plan to wear them in public, but rather display them as art. Nike disputed this claim, citing an image of Miley Cyrus wearing the sneakers in an Instagram post to her 127 million followers.
The lawsuit is ongoing and MSCHF has declared that it will no longer sell pairs of Satan shoes, adding “there are no more shoes”.
The controversial sneakers, denounced by countless conservative politicians and religious leaders, feature a bronze pentagram, the number “666” and a small amount of human blood obtained from the MSCHF team.
The award is a reference to the Bible passage Luke 10:18, which says, “I saw Satan lightning down from heaven,” the collective told CBS News. The release coincided with Lil Nas X’s new song and music video for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”, in which the 21-year-old attempts to seduce a horned devil as a tribute to hisof his bizarre identity.
Earlier this week, Nike told CBS News it had no role in designing or releasing the shoes with the Grammy Award-winning artist or the art collective.
“We don’t approve of them,” the company said on Monday.
Later in the day, Nikeagainst MSCHF, arguing that the swoosh infringes its trademark and damages its trademark.
The sneaker giant argued that the shoes are “likely to cause confusion and dilution and to create a mistaken association between the MSCHF and Nike products”, claiming that there is “already evidence of confusion and significant dilution in the market, including calls to boycott Nike in response to the launch of MSCHF’s Satan shoes based on the mistaken belief that Nike authorized or approved this product. ”
“As a direct and immediate consequence of MSCHF’s wrongdoing, Nike has suffered, continues to suffer and / or is likely to suffer damage to its brands, business reputation and goodwill that money cannot compensate.” , added the lawsuit. “Unless otherwise specified, MSCHF will continue to use Nike’s claimed trademarks and / or similar confusing trademarks and will cause irreparable damage to Nike for which Nike has no adequate legal remedy. ”
The rapper, born Montero Lamar Hill, didn’t shy away from online disapproval, even joke to go to court with Nike.
However, he also tweeted Monday that the “backlash” has an “emotional impact”.
“I try to cover it up with humor but it gets difficult,” he says. “My anxiety is higher than ever. Lil Nas X is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
In its statement on Thursday, MSCHF told CBS News that it “strongly believes in free speech,” adding that “nothing is more important than our ability, and the ability of other artists like us, to continue our work in the years to come. . ”
“We look forward to working with Nike and the court to resolve this matter in the fastest manner,” the company said.