Sportswear brand Nike is to sue an art collective over a pair of customised runners that were inspired by a music video.
The video in question, by rapper Lil Nas X, sees the 21-year-old of 'Old Town Road' fame give the devil a lap dance.
The video was followed by an announcement that the rapper would collaborate with a Brooklyn company to make 666 pairs of "Satan Shoes" - black Nike Air Max 97s customised to feature a bronze pentagram, a Bible verse referring to Satan's fall and a drop of human blood mixed with red ink in the midsole.
Nike is suing MSCHF Product Studio, the eccentric company that linked up with Lil Nas X to create the shoe, for trademark infringement and dilution.
The company said in a statement that "the Satan Shoes were produced without Nike's approval or authorisation, and Nike is in no way connected with this project."
In US federal court documents, Nike alleges that the release has prompted boycott calls against them from offended consumers, who erroneously associate the sneaker giant with the bloody soled-shoes due to their trademark swoosh symbol.
The shoes sold out almost instantly, going for $1,018 a pair. The sale is a follow-up to MSCHF's "Jesus Shoes" - white Nike Air Max 97s, which contained holy water in the sole.
Nike did not sue over that product line.
Lil Nas X's collaboration on the shoes comes as he released his devilish music video for his new song 'Montero (Call Me By Your Name)' - a song whose title appears to refer to the novel and film 'Call Me By Your Name', about a summer romance between two men.
In the video the rapper is seen pole dancing from heaven to hell, while the shoes reference the Bible verse Luke 10:18: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven".
Some Conservatives, including the governor of the state of South Dakota, have taken offence over the video and shoes.
"Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, 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," Kristi Noem tweeted on Sunday.
Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it's "exclusive." But do you know what's more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul.— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 28, 2021
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. https://t.co/m1k1YWFpuo
The rapper responded with a number of memes mocking the outrage, as well as Tweeting: "ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!"