Nike blocks sales of Lil Nas X's 'Satan Shoes' with temporary restraining order
Of course, the shoes are already sold out with one remaining through a giveaway.
UPDATE: Lil Nas X has responded to Nike blocking sales of his specialty "Satan Shoes."
"sorry guys i'm legally not allowed to give the 666th pair away anymore because of the crying nerds on the internet," he tweeted on Thursday.
"i haven't been upset until today, i feel like it's f---ed up they have so much power they can get shoes cancelled," he continued. "freedom of expression gone out the window. but that's gonna change soon."
EARLIER: Nike's beef with the Lil Nas X "Satan shoes" is heating up.
The sneaker company was successful in blocking all sales of the specialty shoes from Brooklyn-based MSCHF, at least for now. A U.S. District Court judge from New York's Eastern District granted Nike a temporary restraining order against MSCHF, preventing the company from fulfilling any orders, according to CBS News.
Of course, the only issue is that, on Monday, 665 pairs of the $1,018-a-pair sneakers sold out in precisely one minute. So, some orders may have already been fulfilled. Lil Nas X is also giving away the last pair — the 666th one — on Twitter. So... yeah.
"Decisions about what products to put the 'swoosh' on belong to Nike, not to third parties like MSCHF," the company said in court documents, according to The Hollywood Reporter — the "swoosh" being a reference to the Nike logo. "Nike requests that the court immediately and permanently stop MSCHF from fulfilling all orders for its unauthorized Satan Shoes."
In response to Thursday's development, a Nike spokesperson issued the same statement to EW the company released on Monday when they first filed the lawsuit.
"Nike filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF today related to the Satan Shoes," the spokesperson said. "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."
Thursday afternoon, MSCHF released a public statement on the company's website regarding the lawsuit, referring to itself as "a conceptual art collective known for interventions that engage fashion, art, tech, and capitalism in various, often unexpected, mediums."
"We believe it is better to make art that participates directly in its subject matter; it is stronger to do a thing, than to talk about a thing," the statement reads. "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. We choose a specific medium to engage with a specific subject matter: we will make shoes, stream video, publish books, make paintings and sculpture, build apps or web services– everything is in service to the concept. MSCHF is fully context chameleonic."
MSCHF noted how they released "Jesus Shoes" over a year ago, also with the Nike swoosh. The company said that release was meant to conflate "celebrity collab culture and brand worship with religious worship into a limited edition line of art objects."
"Last week's release of the Satan Shoes, in collaboration with Lil Nas X, was no different," MSCHF states. "Satan Shoes started a conversation, while also living natively in its space. It is art created for people to observe, speculate on, purchase, and own. 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. We were delighted to work with Lil Nas X on Satan Shoes and continue this dialogue."
A rep for Lil Nas X did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
The shoes were custom designed based on Nike Air Max 97s and were released in conjunction with Lil Nas X's "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" video, which saw the rapper and singer slide down a stripper pole to Hell in order to seduce and then kill Satan. The sneakers sport a pentagram, "Luke 10:18" (in reference to the Bible verse about Lucifer falling like lightning from Heaven), and one drop of human blood per pair.
The sneakers and the video have become lightning rods for many religious conservatives, prompting a lot of homophobic and bigoted responses that Lil Nas X himself has been combating on Twitter.
Per CBS, Nike argued 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."
This article has been updated with a statement from MSCHF.