Nike is suing the creators of a pair of so-called “Satan Shoes” launched by rapper Lil Nas X for copyright infringement.
The black and red Nike Air Max 97s, customised by quirky art brand MSCHF, feature a pentagram – a symbol of Satanism – on top and it is claimed that each shoe contains “one drop” of human blood in the sole.
The trainers – unveiled with Lil Nas X on Monday – also feature a reference to bible verse Luke 10:18 on the side, which says: “He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’.”
According to XXL Magazine, the trainers sold out in less than a minute when they went up for $1,018.
Nike was quick to distance itself from the release, saying it did not have anything to do with the custom shoes, amid concerns the sportswear giant could be seen to be endorsing Satanism.
The company now wants MSCHF to stop selling the shoes, which bear its famous swoosh emblem.
In the lawsuit, Nike says: “MSCHF and its unauthorised Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF’s products and Nike.
“In fact, 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 authorised or approved this product.”
Sky News has reached out to MSCHF for comment.
Lil Nas X has not yet given an official statement, but tweeted a series of memes mocking the lawsuit.
The rapper, who is best known for his 2019 breakout hit Old Town Road, wore the controversial kicks in the new music video for his song Montero (Call Me By Your Name).
It also features the star dancing provocatively with the devil, before seemingly killing him and taking the underworld crown for himself.
Subscribe to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
The star took heat from members of the Christian community in the US, including Donald Trump‘s pastor Mark Burns, who described the shoes as “evil”, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who called for Lil Nas X to be cancelled.
Controversial conservative commentator Candace Owens has also been tweeting her disgust at the shoes, calling Lil Nas X immoral, and claims he is contributing to what she believes is the destruction of American youth.
Lil Nas X responded to her, saying: “You know you did something right when she talks about it.”