Nike and MSCHF Settle Lawsuit Over Lil Nas X's Controversial 'Satan Shoes'
The settlement occurred on Thursday, just a week after Nike filed a trademark lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against MSCHF, PEOPLE confirms.
Lil Nas X's limited-edition (unofficial) Nike Air Max 97s shoe was made "without Nike's authorization," Nike tells PEOPLE in a statement amid the settlement.
In 2019, MSCHF released "Jesus Shoes," a pair of Air Max 97s injected with water from the Jordan River. The shoes also had a crucifix attached to the laces and frankincense-scented insoles.
"As part of the settlement, Nike has asked MSCHF, and MSCHF has agreed, to initiate a voluntary recall to buy back any 'Satan Shoes' and 'Jesus Shoes' for their original retail prices, in order to remove them from circulation," Nike says.
The company also adds, "If any purchasers were confused, or if they otherwise want to return their shoes, they may do so for a full refund."
If a purchaser of either the "Satan Shoes" or "Jesus Shoes" doesn't choose to return the shoes now and later encounters "a product issue, defect, or health concern," Nike states they should contact MSCHF, not them.
"The parties are pleased to put this dispute behind them," Nike's statement concludes.
A federal judge granted Nike's request last Thursday to stop the controversial sneakers from being sold, Billboard reported at the time.
The unofficial black-and-red Nikes — dubbed "Satan Shoes," tied to the release of Lil Nas X's new song "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" and corresponding music video — featured a pentagon charm, text reading "LUKE 10:18," a reference to Satan's fall from heaven, and a stamp showing the shoe's number in the collection (e.g., 17/666).
They even contained a drop of real human blood, which a spokesperson for MSCHF told CNN was donated by members of their team.
The shoes went on sale on March 29 and sold out in minutes. That same day, Nike filed their lawsuit against MSCHF.
MSCHF's attorneys explained in a letter to the judge last Wednesday that the shoes are "not typical sneakers, but rather individually-numbered works of art that were sold to collectors for $1,018 each."
"There's no statements that Nike is affiliated," MSCHF's lawyer said during the hearing last week, according to Billboard.
Nike's attorney argued, "We have submitted numerous evidence that some consumers are saying they will never buy Nike shoes ever again," adding that the Nike swoosh should be awarded protection, as it's "one of the most famous marks of all time.
"The shoes, as well as the music video which features the musician taking a stripper pole to Hell, drew strong backlash online. Nike referenced the criticism in its lawsuit.
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MSCHF said in a statement last week that it was "honestly surprised by the action Nike has taken," because they weren't sued in 2019 for the release of the "Jesus Shoes."
In the lengthy post, the MSCHF compared the release of its Jesus-inspired sneaker versus Satan-inspired sneaker, explaining the Jesus version was made to "conflate celebrity collab culture and brand worship with religious worship into a limited edition line of art objects."
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"Last week's release of the 'Satan Shoes', in collaboration with Lil Nas X, was no different. 'Satan Shoes' started a conversation, while also living natively in its space. It is art created for people to observe, speculate on, purchase, and own," the statement continued. "Heresy only exists in relation to doctrine: who is Nike to censor one but not the other? Satan is as much part of the art historical canon as Jesus, from Renaissance Hellmouths to Milton. Satan exists as the challenger to the ultimate authority. We were delighted to work with Lil Nas X on 'Satan Shoes' and continue this dialogue."