Nike won a lawsuit against MSCHF Art Group in Brooklyn over a controversial “Devil’s Shoe” that contained a real drop of human blood in its sole.
The price of the sneaker, a modified version of the Nike Air Max 97 shoe, is $ 1018, with an inverted cross, a five-star, and the phrase “Luke 10:18”.
The shoe was produced by artistic group MSCHF in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X.
The group said that only 666 pairs of shoes were manufactured, and that all but one of the pairs were shipped.
Nike said that “MSCHF” violated its trademark, and asked a federal court in New York to prevent the group from selling the modified shoes and prevent it from using its famous logo.
“The unlicensed MSCHF and Devil shoes are likely to cause confusion and create a false association between MSCHF and Nike’s products,” the sports shoe giant said in the lawsuit.
Lawyers for the group responded that the 666 pairs it created “are not traditional sneakers, but are a few works of art … were sold to collectors for $ 1018 each.”
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Thursday, in a move in Nike’s favor.
The impact of the ruling is still unclear, as MSCHF indicated that there were no plans to produce more shoes.
The group launched the shoes, which carry black and red colors, on Monday, in conjunction with the release of the singer’s latest song, Lil Nas X, entitled: Montero (Call Me By Your Name).
The song depicts the rapper, who declared in 2019 gay, celebrating his sexual orientation and rejecting attempts to stigmatize it.
In the video for the song, the singer slides down a pillar from Heaven to Hell, then dances dramatically with the Devil, before breaking his neck and stealing his horns.
Both the song’s video and the shoe refer to a text in Luke’s gospel about the fall of Satan from heaven.
Each shoe is equipped with a unique Nike Airbag Sole, containing 60 cubic centimeters of red ink and one drop of human blood, donated by members of the MSCHF art group.
In its lawsuit in New York court, Nike said it had not endorsed or authorized the production of the modified “Devil’s Shoe”.
The company said: “There is already evidence of significant market confusion, including calls to boycott Nike in response to the introduction of the Devil Shoes from MSCHF, based on the misconception that Nike has authorized or approved this product.”
The lawsuit cited a tweet posted by a popular social media influencer known as “Saint” or “The Saint” last Friday, which aroused curiosity about the upcoming release of the shoe and increased its promotion through social media and the media in the United States.
Some conservatives, including South Dakota Gov. Christy Noem, and some religious people, criticized the controversial design of the shoes, and also criticized the singer Lil Nas X and the “MSCHF” group on Twitter.
On Monday, the singer responded to Noem and other critics on Twitter and Nike’s suit with a few tweets.
Joseph Rush of Tennessee, who paid $ 1080 for the shoes, said he was worried he would lose money because of the conflict.
“I hope I get it because I paid for it,” he told the BBC, adding that he made the purchase not because he definitely planned to wear the shoes but as a political stance.
“I wanted to support a gay black man, trying to show a different narrative in a predominantly Christian country that is currently dealing with a lot of issues with blacks,” he added.
MacKenzie Norris of South Carolina, a longtime follower of MSCHF’s business, said the lawsuit brought by Nike delayed his plans to resell the shoe for $ 2,500 via eBay.
“Overall, I think Nike’s lawsuit and intervention is very absurd given the amount of damage it can cause to ordinary people like me who just like to legally modify and resell their products.”