Nike and MSCHF have reached a settlement in the trademark infringement battle over a pair of modified sneakers that were being sold in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X.
Nike filed the suit last week against MSCHF after it launched a pair of modified Nike Air Max 97s called the “Satan Shoes” with Lil Nas X. The shoes, priced at $1,018 and decorated with a pentagram pendant and a drop of human blood in the soles, quickly sold out.
The sneakers drew outrage online, and some called for a boycott of Nike, though the company had nothing to do with the shoe. Nike made a federal filing against MSCHF, and a judge granted a temporary injunction to halt the fulfillment of “Satan Shoes” orders.
A settlement was reached in which MSCHF will issue a voluntary recall on the shoes and offer a buy-back program for previously released modified Nike sneakers it called “Jesus Shoes,” Nike confirmed to NBC News on Thursday.
“If any purchasers were confused, or if they otherwise want to return their shoes, they may do so for a full refund,” Nike said in a statement, reaffirming that it had nothing to do with the shoes. “Purchasers who choose not to return their shoes and later encounter a product issue, defect or health concern should contact MSCHF, not Nike.”
MSCHF agreed to settle the lawsuit after realizing it “already achieved its artistic purpose,” David H. Bernstein, an attorney for MSCHF, told NBC News. The shoes were “individually numbered works of art that will continue to represent the ideals of equality and inclusion,” he said.
“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” in partnership with Lil Nas X, Bernstein said.
The release of the “Satan Shoes” coincided with Lil Nas X’s latest single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and its accompanying music video. In the video, Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, is seduced out of what appears to be the Garden of Eden, falls into hell and gives the devil a lap dance.
Lil Nas X defended the shoes as the single and the video got increased attention. The single debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
After the release of the song Friday, Lil Nas X put out an open letter to his younger self about coming out. The rapper, who is openly gay, explained that the song was about a guy he met last summer.
“I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never be ‘that’ type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist,” he wrote.
The music video for “Montero” includes a voiceover with a similar message.
“In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want the world to see,” he says. “We lock them away. We tell them, ‘No.’ We banish them. But here, we don’t. Welcome to Montero.”