At the center of the various controversies stemming from the release of Lil Nas X’s hit song MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) is the simultaneous release of a limited, Satan-themed run of Nike Air Maxes created by the New York art collective MSCHF. The release of the shoe had many calling for boycotts of Nike, under the false idea that the apparel giant was behind the release of the sneakers.
Among the sports stars that railed against the release were UFC legend Jon Jones and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Days after the shoes were announced, Nike sued MSCHF over copyright infringement.
“We do not have a relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF,” the company released in a statement. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.”
In court this week, a federal judge has ruled that MSCHF must stop producing and releasing the shoes, which were set to be limited to 666 pairs. At the center of the issue is that the famous Nike “swoosh” logo remains visible on the customized Air Maxes, causing confusion over the company’s involvement.
Nike wins halt to sales of Lil Nas X 'Satan Shoes' https://t.co/Tth8GHzNDc
— CNBC (@CNBC) April 6, 2021
According to CNBC, MSCHF defended the shoes, arguing that they were “not typical sneakers, but rather individually-numbered works of art,” that should not be confused with a Nike product. In 2019, the collective released a set of “Jesus Shoes” created from the same Air Max model, without much controversy.
“MSCHF strongly believes in the freedom of expression,” the collective said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Nike and the court to resolve this case in the most expeditious manner.”
Lil Nas X was not a defendant in the case, but partnered with the company as he released his biggest song since the 2019 crossover hit “Old Town Road.” The entire situation, which has been a constant talking point on cable news since last week, has been a major boon for his streaming numbers. MONTERO hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, following in the footsteps of his more family-friendly hit from a few years ago.