Photo by Jairus Gallimore

Satan shoes scandal

The controversy between Nike and Lil Nas X succeeded in increasing sales of Satan Shoes

“I hope Nike burns to the ground and goes bankrupt over this…now they openly promote Satanism. Disgusting,” verified Twitter user Pastor Greg Locke protested. With 629 likes along with 113 replies and 119 retweets, this controversial statement quickly started fights and arguments.

By now everyone has heard the story of Nike supporting Satanism after what seems like the launch of their newest product, Satan Shoes. From rumors and friends asking if you have heard of the latest shoe gossip, to former NBA player Nick Young tweeting, “My kids will never play Old Town road again…I’m still debating about wearing Nike after this….”

It all leads back to the famous shoe company participating in the worship of the devil. So, is this actually what happened? Or is this a fabricated lie created by social media and pop culture?

Everything started when Brooklyn art collective (A group of artists working together under their own management); MSCHF (pronounced “mischief”) which stands for Miscellaneous Mischief, partnered with American rapper Lil Nas X to promote his newest single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, by releasing the Satan Shoes three days after the song came out on March 29, 2021.

With 666 pairs available and each shoe individually numbered, they were sold for $1,018 per pair. These red-and-black Air Max ‘97s included a gold pentagram, a drop of human blood in each shoe along with Nike’s famous Swoosh printed on the side; the Satan Shoes sold out in less than a minute. David Berstein, MSCHF’s lawyer representative, claimed that the shoes were, “A collaboration with Satan”.

“That’s just what you say to make people even more upset and gain even more publicity,” Nathan Stromberg, art teacher at Minnehaha Academy commented. “This [Satan collaboration] is not new… it’s been going on for a long time… it’s almost like a social experiment.”

“I actually think the shoes were really cool…they’re a really good idea, and if the blood owners were willing, I don’t really see a problem,” freshman Ophelia Klimmek said.

However, despite the prominent narratives on social media, there is no need to boycott Nike’s products for they were not involved in the release of these Air Max ‘97s.

“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,” said Nike while filing for trademark infringement, a violation of the exclusive rights attached to a trademark without the authorization of the brand owner or any licensees against MSCHF.

As a result, Nike has prevented MSCHF from using their Swoosh, furthermore stopping the production and distribution of Satan Shoes.

“We do not have a relationship with Lil Nas X or MSCHF. Nike did not design or release these shoes, and we do not endorse them,” Nike clarified during an interview with Yahoo Finance. On Thursday, April 8th, MSCHF and Nike reached a settlement, with MSCHF agreeing to buy back the sneakers from all of the original buyers at the initial price of $1,018 each.

Sam Mazurek, MA sophomore objected, “I think they’re pulling it out of proportion and interpreting it way out of what it’s intended … like accepting yourself just the way you are. Not Satan worship.”

Shockingly, the Satan Shoes weren’t the first bootleg product MSCHF had created. Two years ago on January 8th, 2019, MSCHF had released a pair of similar sneakers called Jesus Shoes that sold for $3000 each. These sneakers were white-and-blue Air Max 97s along with water from the Jordan River instead of blood and a cross in place of the pentagram. But the major difference between these two sneakers was legal action was not taken against the Jesus Shoes.

“They [MSCHF] made the Jesus Shoe and Nike didn’t sue,” Stromberg observed. “As soon as they’re [Nike] getting blowbacks from people about the Satan Shoe, they’re suing… I don’t think MSCHF is interested in satanic imagery. I think they knew that that would generate a lot of publicity.”

Receiving backlash is inevitable with a scandal like this since the music video itself is controversial enough including comments like: “Him s*during the devil then cracking his neck and becoming him is iconic”, “Hail S*tan” and “This is disgusting.” The lawsuit only added oil to the fire.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem tweeted, “Our kids are being told that this kind of product is not only okay, but it’s ‘exclusive’. But do you know what’s more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win.”

Nas retaliated with what looks like an apology video titled “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoes,” but instead of an apology, the video jump-cuts to the end of Montero’s music video.

What have we learned from this infamy? Is it how collaboration culture has become crazy to the point where collaborating with the devil exists as a trend? Maybe we shouldn’t jump to conclusions so fast? Or how insanely fast someone/ something can be canceled over something they didn’t even do.

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