Nike's Lil Nas X 'Satan Shoes' Lawsuit: Explaining the Branded Shoe Drama
Lil Nas X, who rocketed himself to instant stardom with his song “Old Town Road,” made headlines for his latest hit, “Montero.”
The music video for “Montero” is a bit racier than his previous work, including plenty of scenes with the Devil that we can’t link to in this family publication. But, the marketing people at MSCHF, an art and design collective, wanted to capture the essence of the video by releasing 666 pairs of what they billed as official “Montero” Nike Airmax 97s, complete with a pentagram and (supposedly) a drop of human blood in each pair.
It came to light later that Nike actually had nothing to do with this. MSCHF had just created a bunch of heavily-customized sneakers. With all of controversy surrounding the video and fear from customers that Nike was endorsing the occult or something, Nike decided it was best to fully distance itself from the promotion, and sued MSCHF, demanding to be compensated and that the shoes be destroyed.
Nike settled a lawsuit with MSCHF, the company behind the Lil Nas X branded shoe that features satanic symbols and a red liquid in the sole that supposedly contains human blood. Now, MSCHF will buy back customers' shoes for a full refund. https://t.co/wMfJiEhiGr
— CNN (@CNN) April 9, 2021
“With these Satan Shoes—which sold out in less than a minute—MSCHF intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance,” MSCHF told The Verge in a statement. “Having already achieved its artistic purpose, MSCHF recognized that settlement was the best way to allow it to put this lawsuit behind it so that it could dedicate its time to new artistic and expressive projects.”
As part of the settlement, MSCHF has agreed to put in place a voluntary recall, offering customers a full refund (of $1,018) to remove them from circulation.
Ari Robertson from The Verge accurately pointed out that chances are slim that sneaker collectors who already had their hands on a very limited edition release are going to give them back just as they become even more exclusive and controversial. They’re already being listed on eBay for thousands more than the list price.
It’s understandable that Nike distanced itself from the controversy for the sake of its own brand image. But, you also have to think that, as a company, Nike isn’t naive enough to believe that people would really just send their ultra-valuable shoes back.
At least one pair will stay in the wild, as MSCHF’s attorney confirmed that the company will hold onto one.
“I can say that MSCHF intends to keep the last of the 666 shoes,” the attorney said. “Regrettably, it will not be able to have Lil Nas X give that shoe away, as he was planning to do.”