Recall Lil Nas X, the sensational pop star who recently came out as gay then released “Satan Shoes” on the heels of his polarising music video? The rapper/pop star put out a limited release of Nike sneakers that were all about the Prince of Darkness (satan) and his kingdom, right down to the box artwork and even the shoe design itself, which features a pentagram emblem sitting on the laces, an inverted (upside down) cross on the shoe tongue, etc. The shoe body is a Nike Air Max ’97, which MSCHF — the company behind the campaign, reinvented with Nas X’s new ‘Montero’ song and video in mind. It’s got a bible scripture emblazoned on the side, Luke 10:18, referencing Satan’s banishment from heaven.
Luke 10:18 (KJV) reads: “And he said unto them, I beheld satan as lightening fall from heaven.”
The company who marketed “Satan Shoes” last month offered to buy back the customised sneakers from purchasers, settling a lawsuit filed by Nike Inc. after the shoes went viral on social media.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Nike said it settled its legal dispute with MSCHF Product Studio Inc. over the shoes, which were released in March as part of a publicity campaign for rapper Lil Nas X.
“MSCHF agreed to initiate a voluntary recall to buy back any Satan Shoes and Jesus Shoes for their original retail prices, to remove them from circulation,” Nike said in a statement.
Nike said any buyers of the Satan’s Shoes who wants to return them will receive a refund. The same offer will be extended for purchasers of Jesus Shoes, which were also customised and marketed by MSCHF in 2019.
“We’re thrilled with the way this case has been resolved,” David Bernstein, a lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP representing MSCHF, told the Wall Street Journal Thursday. “MSCHF from the start distributed these shoes to make a statement, and thanks to the lawsuit and all of the publicity that came from it, that statement reached far more corners than we expected.”
“These shoes were never about making money. MSCHF made these shoes to make a point about how crazy collaboration culture has become,” Bernstein said, noting that the shoe “appeared to be a collaboration with Satan.”
Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, collaborated with provocative art collective MSCHF to create the red and black sneakers, which reference Luke 10:18 on the sides. The verse reads: “He said to them, ‘I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven.'”
The singer also released a video over the weekend titled, “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe.” Lacking any trace of an apology, it depicts his newest explicit music video, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
Speaking of his 2021 children’s book, C Is for Country, “Lil Nas X catered to and resonated with that younger demographic,” says Dan Runcie, the founder of Trapital, a media company and newsletter focused on business and hip-hop.
The Daily Wire reported on the rapper’s apparent pride in his latest project, at the prompting of a social media comment. “I made the decision to create the music video,” Lil Nas X wrote. “I am an adult. I am not gonna spend my entire career trying to cater to your children. That is your job.”
Conservative voices and faith leaders are unsurprisingly in an uproar, while by and large, the secular response has been favorable, even celebratory.
Franklin Graham highlighted the spiritual warfare at work in a Twitter thread:
Pastor Mark Burns of Harvest Praise and Worship Center in South Carolina called for Christians to arise in faith:
And South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem stood up for her faith in response to severe backlash from the artist.
Nike denied involvement with the shoe line’s development. The Hill quotes the retailer as saying, “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.”