Nike And Brooklyn-Based Company MSCHF Product Studio Inc Reach Settlement In Lil Nas X ‘Satan Shoes’ Trademark Lawsuit

ike and MSCHF have reached a settlement in the trademark infringement battle over a pair of modified sneakers that were being sold in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X.

Nike filed the suit last week against MSCHF after it launched a pair of modified Nike Air Max 97s called the “Satan Shoes” with Lil Nas X. The shoes, priced at $1,018 and decorated with a pentagram pendant and a drop of human blood in the soles, quickly sold out.

The sneakers drew outrage online, and some called for a boycott of Nike, though the company had nothing to do with the shoe. Nike made a federal filing against MSCHF, and a judge granted a temporary injunction to halt the fulfillment of “Satan Shoes” orders.

A settlement was reached in which MSCHF will issue a voluntary recall on the shoes and offer a buy-back program for previously released modified Nike sneakers it called “Jesus Shoes,” Nike confirmed to NBC News on Thursday.

“If any purchasers were confused, or if they otherwise want to return their shoes, they may do so for a full refund,” Nike said in a statement, reaffirming that it had nothing to do with the shoes. “Purchasers who choose not to return their shoes and later encounter a product issue, defect or health concern should contact MSCHF, not Nike.”

MSCHF agreed to settle the lawsuit after realizing it “already achieved its artistic purpose,” David H. Bernstein, an attorney for MSCHF, told NBC News. The shoes were “individually numbered works of art that will continue to represent the ideals of equality and inclusion,” he said.

“With these Satan Shoes — which sold out in less than a minute — MSCHF intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance” in partnership with Lil Nas X, Bernstein said.

The release of the “Satan Shoes” coincided with Lil Nas X’s latest single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and its accompanying music video. In the video, Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, is seduced out of what appears to be the Garden of Eden, falls into hell and gives the devil a lap dance.

Lil Nas X defended the shoes as the single and the video got increased attention. The single debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

After the release of the song Friday, Lil Nas X put out an open letter to his younger self about coming out. The rapper, who is openly gay, explained that the song was about a guy he met last summer.

“I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never be ‘that’ type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist,” he wrote.

The music video for “Montero” includes a voiceover with a similar message.

“In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want the world to see,” he says. “We lock them away. We tell them, ‘No.’ We banish them. But here, we don’t. Welcome to Montero.”

Source: NBC News

Nike Executive Of 25 Years Ann Hebert Abruptly Leaves Company After Report Reveals Ties To Sneaker Reselling Business Operated By Her Son

Nike Inc. executive Ann Hebert abruptly left the company following a Bloomberg Businessweek report about her son operating a business reselling sneakers and using a credit card in her name.

Hebert, who served as vice president and general manager of North America, departed Monday, effective immediately, Nike said in a brief statement. She had been in the role since last June, overseeing Nike’s sales, marketing and merchandising in the region.

The executive had spent more than 25 years with the Beaverton, Oregon-based company, which said it would announce a new leader for North America shortly.

Bloomberg Businessweek’s latest cover article explored the story of Joe Hebert, Ann’s son, a college dropout who makes a living as a sneaker reseller. Known to his customers as West Coast Joe, he started reselling streetwear in high school and now flips hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shoes each month.

Ann Hebert didn’t reply to emailed questions for that report, but a Nike representative said the executive disclosed relevant information about her son’s business to Nike in 2018. The company said at the time that Hebert did not violate “company policy, privileged information or conflicts of interest.”

After Hebert’s departure, a spokesperson for Nike said the executive made the decision to resign. Hebert didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on LinkedIn.

Source: Bloomberg

Retired Fortune 100 Executive Thomas B. Walsh Answers To Why So Many People Settle For Low-Paying Jobs With Expensive College Degrees

“Settle” for low-paying jobs?

You can’t be serious, Dude.

There was a time in the US when you could get a great job if you earned a bachelor’s degree in “anything.”

The catch is that JFK was president at the time.

Most parents (and their students) are oblivious to how college really works today.

In some ways it is hard to blame them. Colleges and universities have a powerful public relations team, pushing the message 24/7 that “college is for all.”

The team is made up of educators, guidance counselors, financial aid officers, politicians, pop culture, special interest groups–like the College Board, and college administrators—who are the biggest beneficiaries. Their influence is everywhere.

Many, many years ago, my “anything” degree, Philosophy, was from a state university in fly-over country, better known for its football team than scholarship. (As I vaguely remember, my GPA wasn’t that robust either.)

However, I had a successful career in IT, and retired as an executive from a Fortune 100 company.

The bad news is that college doesn’t work that way anymore.

Years ago very few high school grads (7%) went on to college. (They tended to be the “smart kids.”) If you graduated with a degree in anything, i.e. English, Gender Studies, Comp-lit, Philosophy, etc., you could get a good job.

Over the years a greater and greater portion of high school grads answered the call,

“You have to go to college!”

We are now at 45%. Probably half these teenagers don’t have the “academic firepower” to handle a serious, marketable major.

Back in the day having a college degree was a big deal. By the year 2000, the quality of a college education had deteriorated significantly, and college grads were a-dime-a-dozen. There were too many graduates, but not enough suitable jobs.

Then we got hit with the Great Recession of 2008.

In the US almost anyone can find a college or university that will accept them and their parent’s money.

You might even manage to graduate with some degree or another.

The problem comes when you try to find a real job. Employers aren’t stupid. They are going to sort through that gigantic stack of resumes and find the smart kids.

Today college is a competition for a relatively few (1,100,000) well-paying, professional jobs. Every year colleges and universities churn out 1,900,000 graduates with shiny new bachelor’s degrees. We don’t know the exact number, but a heck of a lot of minimum wage jobs are held by young people with college degrees in stuff like English, Gender Studies, Comp-lit, Philosophy, etc.

Given the high cost of college, that just doesn’t make any economic sense.

PS

The “Anything” Degree

Two decades ago in his book, Another Way To Win, Dr. Kenneth Gray coined the term “one way to win.” He described the OWTW strategy widely followed in the US as:

  • “Graduate from high school.
  • Matriculate at a four-year college.
  • Graduate with a degree in anything.
  • Become employed in a professional job.”

Dr. Gray’s message to the then “academic middle” was that this was unlikely to be a successful strategy in the future. The succeeding twenty years have proven him inordinately prescient and not just for the “academic middle.”

The simple explanation is that it comes down to “supply” (graduates) and “demand” (suitable jobs).

Fifty years ago only seven percent of high school graduates went on to college. In post-WW II America our economy was booming while the economies of many European and Asian countries were–only slowly–being rebuilt. The “Law of Supply and Demand” strongly favored the freshly minted college graduate.

Parents and students noticed how college really paid off, and the “great gold rush” to the halls of higher learning began.

Today my local, Midwest run-of-the-mill high school sends eighty percent of their graduates on to college.

Most of them are going to be very disappointed.

Source: Quora

Minnesota Town (Murdock) Approves Permit For White-Only Church, Says It’s Not Racist

When the church doors open, only white people will be allowed inside.

That’s the message the Asatru Folk Assembly in Murdock, Minnesota, is sending after being granted a conditional use permit to open a church there and practice its pre-Christian religion that originated in northern Europe.

Despite a council vote officially approving the permit this month, residents are pushing back against the decision.

Opponents have collected about 50,000 signatures on an online petition to stop the all-white church from making its home in the farming town of 280 people.

“I think they thought they could fly under the radar in a small town like this, but we’d like to keep the pressure on them,” said Peter Kennedy, a longtime Murdock resident. “Racism is not welcome here.”

Many locals said they support the growing population of Latinos, who have moved to the area in the past decade because of job opportunities, over the church.

“Just because the council gave them a conditional permit does not mean that the town and people in the area surrounding will not be vigilant in watching and protecting our area,” Jean Lesteberg, who lives in the neighboring town of De Graff, wrote on the city’s Facebook page.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Asatru Folk Assembly as a “neo-Volkisch hate group” that couches “their bigotry in baseless claims of bloodlines grounding the superiority of one’s white identity.”

Many residents call them a white supremacist or white separatist group, but church members deny it.

“We’re not. It’s just simply not true,” said Allen Turnage, a folk assembly board member. “Just because we respect our own culture, that doesn’t mean we are denigrating someone else’s.”

The group, based in Brownsville, California, says teachings and membership are for those of strictly European bloodlines.

The church was looking for a new church in the eastern North Dakota region when they came across Murdock. It’s unknown how many members they have worldwide or how many people will attend the new church.

“We do not need salvation. All we need is freedom to face our destiny with courage and honor,” the group wrote on its website about their beliefs. “We honor the Gods under the names given to them by our Germanic/Norse ancestors.”

Their forefathers, according to the website, were “Angels and Saxons, Lombards and Heruli, Goths and Vikings, and, as sons and daughters of these people, they are united by ties of blood and culture undimmed by centuries.”

“We respect the ways our ancestors viewed the world and approached the universe a thousand years ago,” Turnage said.

Murdock council members said they do not support the church but were legally obligated to approve the permit, which they did in a 3-1 decision.

“We were highly advised by our attorney to pass this permit for legal reasons to protect the First Amendment rights,” Mayor Craig Kavanagh said. “We knew that if this was going to be denied, we were going to have a legal battle on our hands that could be pretty expensive.”

City Attorney Don Wilcox said it came down to free speech and freedom of religion.

“I think there’s a great deal of sentiment in the town that they don’t want that group there,” he said. “You can’t just bar people from practicing whatever religion they want or saying anything they want as long as it doesn’t incite violence.”

The farming town about a 115-mile drive west of Minneapolis is known for producing corn and soybeans, which are shipped across the country. Latinos make up about 20 percent of Murdock’s small population. Many are day laborers from Mexico and Central America, city officials said.

“We’re a welcoming community,” Kennedy said, rejecting the Asatru Folk Assembly’s exclusionary beliefs. “That’s not at all what the people of Murdock feel. Nobody had a problem with the Hispanics here.”

The AFA purchased its building this year on property in a residential zone. Constructed as a Lutheran church before the zoning was changed, it was later converted to a private residence. The folk assembly needed the permit to convert the residence back to a church.

“It’s ironic the city council didn’t want to commit discrimination against the church, but the church is discriminating against Blacks,” said Abigail Suiter, 33, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “It’s very telling of where the priority is and whose lives matter.”

Prominent lawyers disagree on the council’s options heading into the vote. Some of the debate centered on the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which protects religious institutions and churches from unduly burdens and discriminatory land-use regulations.

Laurence H. Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, said the council might have been able to prevent the private sale of the property, had it known about it, through laws focused on forbidding racial discrimination in property transactions.

“No institution that proposes to exclude people on account of race is allowed to run an operation in the state of Minnesota,” Tribe said.

Kavanagh said he stands by the council vote “for legal reasons only.”

“The biggest thing people don’t understand is, because we’ve approved this permit, all of a sudden everyone feels this town is racist, and that isn’t the case,” he said. “Just because we voted yes doesn’t mean we’re racist.”

Source: NBC News

Full-Scale Ultra Music Festival Event Takes Place In Taiwan, Where COVID-19 Has Been Contained

While music festivals remain a distant memory in most parts of the world, a full-scale Ultra Music Festival event went on in Taiwan on Saturday, November 14th. The event, which took place at Dajie Riverside Park in Taipei, was billed as a part of Road to Ultra, the long-running series of one-day festival events in cities around the world created and founded by the team behind the famous Miami electronic dance music festival.

The Ultra event in Taiwan was headlined by Swedish progressive house maestro Alesso and featured performances by LA-based duo Slander, Israeli production pair Vini Vici, and America DJ Kayzo as well as regional supporting acts JuniorRayRay, and Pei Pei. It welcomed crowds of thousands to enjoy a full music festival experience complete with lavish stage production, pyrotechnics, and fireworks in addition to live painting demonstrations, global street food, and a graphic art wall created by Taiwanese designers. The event was streamed live online to a global audience.

The successful festival serves as a big win for the Ultra organizers, whose Covid-imposed cancellation of Ultra’s flagship Miami event in early March was among the first in a cascade of cancellations that saw much of the global live music industry to screech to a halt over the ensuing weeks.

As the United States struggles with its nastiest spike to date and the prospect of a full-blown music festival remains entirely out of the question, Taiwan has had immense success in curbing the spread of the coronavirus. As of the end of October, the East Asian country had gone 200 days without a locally transmitted COVID-19 case.

Source: Live For Live Music

Adidas x Star Wars ‘The Mandalorian Collection’ Available Now

Everybody’s favourite spacefaring Western in The Mandalorian is back with its second season on Disney+. And what better way to celebrate the hugely-popular Star Wars spinoff than with a brand-spanking new Adidas Originals x Star Wars sneaker pack inspired by the show?

The Mandalorian Collection is a massive pack featuring not one, not two, but nine silhouettes inspired by the various iconic characters of the show. And the best part is that they are all available now on the Adidas US online store, alongside other Adidas Originals x Star Wars collaborations, including Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, and Chewbacca.

Leading the lineup is the NMD_R1 The Mandalorian Shoes, which pay homage to the series’ titular helmeted protagonist. It actually comes in two colourways; the first is a beautifully subtle Core Black/Simple Brown/Silver Metallic colourway (US$140 / S$200), and the other is a more earthy, kids-only Brown/Pale Nude/Maroon variant (US$120 / S$150).

Source: Geek Culture

Australian Children Musical Group The Wiggles Apologize After ‘Culturally Insensitive’ Song About Indian Food (Papadum) Resurfaces

Australian children musical group The Wiggles have apologized after their song about Indian cuisine resurfaced online and sparked backlash for being “insensitive.”

Back in 2014, the group was a part of the show called Ready, Steady, Wiggle!. They had performed a song called The Pappadum Song in the Lachy’s Pappadum Party episode.

The performers were seen wearing Indian garb and singing along to lyrics that mostly went by, “Pappadum, pappadum, pappa pappa pappa dum.”

At one point, Anthony Field danced with a cricket bat, while the rest of the group held the Indian flatbread behind him.

Many Twitter users weren’t pleased with the video for perpetuating the stereotypes tied to Indian culture. “My jaw hit the floor the first time I saw it. Very, very culturally insensitive, and such a stereotype,” one user wrote.

“I wrote the song, and directed the clip in 2014 (which was meant as a celebration),” Field wrote on Twitter. “It was not my intention to be culturally insensitive to the Indian community or to add value to ethnic stereotyping. Apologies.”

Source: DesignTAXI

Playboy Suing Fashion Nova Over Halloween Bunny Costume

Playboy’s pissed at Fashion Nova for rolling out new bunny costumes, just in time for Halloween, which it claims are plainly “an attempt to piggyback off the popularity and renown of Playboy’s iconic bunny costume.”

Translation: Quit bitin’ our bunny!

In docs, obtained by TMZ, Playboy says Fashion Nova completely ripped off its iconic costume — which includes cuffs, collar, bowtie, corset, ribbon name tag, bunny ears and tail — and is selling them as Halloween costumes on its website. According to the suit, Fashion Nova’s even using the description “Bunny of the Month,” which Playboy says is a clear reference to its Playmate of the Month trademark.

Source: TMZ

Japanese Pianist Tadataka Unno Badly Injured After Attack In New York Subway – Thought To Be Chinese

A well known musician has been badly injured after being attacked near his home in Harlem.

Now the community has come together to support him.

As CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reports, New York-based Japanese musician Tadataka Unno is a beloved member of the local jazz community. The 40-year-old is a renowned pianist and composer.

“He really took hold of jazz culture and embodied it,” said Jerome Jennings, an instructor at the Julliard School, and a good friend of Unno’s. “He’s played in bands with Roy Hargrove and great Jimmy Cobb.”

Jennings says Unno is now suffering mentally and physically after being attacked unexpectedly.

It happened on Sept. 27 around 7:30 p.m. Jennings says Unnon was exiting the subway station at West 135th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue when several young people were blocking the turnstiles. Unno attempted to walk around the group, but was yelled at and pushed from behind, eventually punched in the face and body.

“He got up, tried to run, fell again, got back up, tried to run, fell again,” Jennings said.

Jennings says Unno’s wife says there were racial slurs yelled in the process.

“He did hear the word ‘Chinese’ and ‘Asian,’” Jennings said.

Police say no anti-Asian remarks were indicated in the report but the investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made.

Source: CBS New York