Kanye West is suing Walmart.
The ‘Stronger’ rapper and his Yeezy brand have taken legal action against the discount retailer and accused them of selling fake versions of his Foam Runner footwear.
The Yeezy slides were introduced last year and retail at $75 (R1055), and in legal documents filed on Thursday, the company claimed Walmart are “trading off” Kanye’s popularity to sell their own versions online, which sell for between $21.99 (R309) and $33.99 (R479) a pair.
According to the lawsuit, Yeezy has previously sent warnings demanding Walmart remove their slides from the sale but the retail giant has yet to do so.
Documents obtained by the New York Post newspaper state: “Walmart is flagrantly trading off of his and Yeezy brand’s popularity by offering for sale an imitation version of the Yeezy Foam Runner…
“The Yeezy brand is worth ‘billions’ of dollars, and the potential loss from the imitation shoes in the ‘hundreds of millions.’”
The suit insisted the Yeezy Foam Runners are “virtually indistinguishable” from shows being sold on Walmart.com.
They highlighted one customer review which stated: “My son has been wanting the Yeezy slides but these look similar and are much more affordable.”
The complaint noted: “Consumers likely would have purchased the Yeezy Foam Runner were it not for the cheaper, knock-off imitation shoe.”
As well as arguing they were taking sales away from Yeezy, the suit alleged Walmart’s sneakers are of “subpar quality”, which has damaged the “reputation and the goodwill of the Yeezy brand.”
The claim was accompanied by customer complaints that the shoes didn’t fit well and “ripped after 20 minutes of wear”.
Walmart appears to have removed most of the Foam Runners from its website now and have moved to distance themselves from the products.
They said in a statement: “The product referenced in the complaint is not sold by Walmart, but rather by third-party Marketplace sellers. We take allegations like this seriously and are reviewing the claim. We will respond in court as appropriate after we have been served with the complaint.”