- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2021

Nike has settled the lawsuit the sportswear giant recently filed in federal court against MSCHF, the seller of unauthorized “Satan Shoes” promoted by rapper Lil Nas X, both parties confirmed Friday.

MSCHF, a Brooklyn-based art collective, has agreed to initiate a voluntary recall intended to remove the satanic-themed shoes from circulation, Nike said in a statement announcing the settlement.

“The parties are pleased to put this dispute behind them,” Nike said in the statement.

A lawyer for MSCHF separately told The Washington Times it was “pleased with the settlement.”

The settlement, which Nike said was reached Thursday, resolves a trademark infringement lawsuit it brought against MSCHF less than two weeks earlier that sought to stop it from shipping the sneakers.

MSCHF had made the shoes by modifying pairs of Nike Air Max 97 sneakers. Each featured a bronze pentagram, an inverted cross, a Bible passage about Satan and, according to MSCHF, a drop of human blood.

The sneakers were sold on the heels of MSCHF having marketed “Jesus Shoes” in 2019. Those were made from the same Nike sneakers and, according to MSCHF, contained holy water from the Jordan River.

Nike said MSCHF made the shoes without its approval or authorization, and it argued in court they were “likely to confuse, mislead or deceive customers” into believing they were actual Nike products.

Filed late last month in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, Nike‘s lawsuit accused MSCHF of violating federal laws against trademark infringement and trademark dilution, in addition to other counts.

MSCHF previously said it designed 666 pairs of the Satan Shoes and had been selling them online for $1,018 a pair. It has since agreed to offer customers a full refund if they want it, Nike explained.

“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 said in the statement.

“If any purchasers were confused, or if they otherwise want to return their shoes, they may do so for a full refund. Purchasers who choose not to return their shoes and later encounter a product issue, defect or health concern should contact MSCHF, not Nike,” the statement said.

Nike did not disclose any additional details involving the settlement agreement. David H. Bernstein, counsel of record for MSCHF, told The Times the specific terms are confidential.

MSCHF intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance,” Mr. Bernstein said in an emailed statement.

MSCHF looked forward to presenting its defenses at the preliminary injunction hearing, especially since the Court indicated that it recognized that ‘First Amendment rights of artistic expression are paramount,’” Mr. Bernstein continued. “However, having already achieved its artistic purpose, MSCHF recognized that settlement was the best way to allow it to put this lawsuit behind it so that it could dedicate its time to new artistic and expressive projects.”

MSCHF marketed the sneakers with help from Montero Lamar Hill, the rapper better known as Lil Nas X, who recently released a satanic-themed music video for his song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”

Mr. Hill was not sued by Nike. But on social media Thursday, he suggested he could be willing to help cover associated costs.

“y’all keep streaming call me by your name so i can pay for this damn nike lawsuit,” he tweeted.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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