The sale of Lil Nas X’s incendiary Satan Shoes has come to a halt after Nike was granted a temporary restraining order against MSCHF.
In a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday, Nike confirmed the ruling, which marks its first win in the legal battle over the shoes after the footwear company sued the Brooklyn-based streetwear company for trademark infringement earlier this week.
As a result of the ruling, NBC and The Hollywood Reporter report that MSCHF has been temporarily blocked from fulfilling orders of the shoes, a modified version of Nike Air Max 97s with satanic symbolism.
The singer reacted to the decision on Twitter Thursday, writing, “i haven’t been upset until today.”
“i feel like it’s (expletive) up they have so much power they can get shoes cancelled,” he added. “freedom of expression gone out the window. but that’s gonna change soon”
Lil Nas X also responded to a Twitter user who accused the Satan Shoes of ripping off Nike’s design and logo.
“people make customs all the time, it’s never been a problem,” he wrote. “nike only stopped the sell of the shoe because a powerful group of people pushed them to do so.”
MSCHF decried the ruling and defended the shoes in a statement provided to USA TODAY Thursday.
“Nothing is more important than our ability, and the ability of other artists like us, to continue with our work over the coming years,” the company said. “We look forward to working with Nike and the court to resolve this case in the most expeditious manner.”
The company also noted that an upcoming Twitter giveaway for the shoes has been prohibited indefinitely due to the ruling.
The “Old Town Road” singer, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, collaborated with MSCHF on the limited Satan Shoe release, which sparked social media furor. Only 666 pairs went on sale Monday for $1,018, a reference to Luke 10:18, a Bible verse about Satan’s fall from heaven. The shoes immediately sold out, according to MSCHF.
The shoes are decorated with a pentagram pendant, pentagram designs on the heel and an inverted cross on the tongue pull-tab. The sole air bubble contains 60 cc ink and one drop of human blood, according to a statement from MSCHF.
A Nike company spokesperson confirmed the legal action against MSCHF on Monday in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.
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“Nike filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint against MSCHF today related to the Satan Shoes. We don’t have any further details to share on pending legal matters,” the statement read. “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.”
In a separate statement to the Associated Press, Nike said the company sought to “stop the release of the Satan Shoes.”
MSCHF CEO Gabe Whaley told the AP in an email that Nike “did not have any involvement whatsoever” in the project. MSCHF purchased the shoes from Nike, then made its own modifications to the shoes before marketing them, Whaley confirmed.
Lil Nas X, who is not being sued by Nike, posted a cartoon response to the lawsuit on Twitter that showed the “SpongeBob Square Pants” character Squidward begging for money. “Me after the Nike lawsuit,” the tweet stated.
In the lawsuit, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Nike says MSCHF Product Studio materially altered its trademarked product without permission. The Oregon-based company is suing MSCHF for trademark infringement and dilution and unfair competition, seeking compensatory, statutory and punitive damages.
“The material alterations include at least referring to the shoe as the Satan Shoe, adding red ink and human blood to the midsole, adding red embroidered satanic-themed detailing, adding a bronze pentagram to the laces, and adding a new sock liner,” states the complaint.
“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.”
The Satan Shoes follow the release of Lil Nas X’s devil-themed music video for his song “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” the title track for his upcoming album. In the video, Lil Nas X gyrates on Satan’s lap.
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Rapper Joyner Lucas criticized Lil Nas X for his latest song, tweeting that “the biggest problem for me is the fact he don’t understand ‘old town road’ is every kids anthem.”
“Children love him for that record,” Lucas said. “They tuned in and subscribed to his channels. So with no disclaimer he just dropped some left field ish & all our kids seen it. smh.”
Lil Nas X responded sarcastically to the uproar on social media about the shoes by posting a YouTube video on Sunday called “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe,” which was actually a video cut of him dancing provocatively with Satan.
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota decried the “exclusive” shoes on Twitter.
“Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it’s ‘exclusive.’ But do you know what’s more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul,” Noem wrote Sunday. “We are in a fight for the soul of our nation.”
Lil Nas X responded to the tweet, writing, “(You are) a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!”
Clemson quarterback stand-out Trevor Lawrence tweeted critically about the shoes Sunday, writing, “Line has to be drawn somewhere. Smh.”
Miley Cyrus tweeted a series of photos Monday of wearing the shoes. “Can you see Satan?” Cyrus wrote.
Lil Nas X worked to get in the last fashion word about the product on Twitter.
“Y’all gotta admit… the shoes hard!” he wrote. “U cannot sit here and lie.”
Contributing: Charles Trepany