Nirvana Sued by 'Nevermind' Cover Baby for Child Pornography
Published Aug 25, 2021The naked baby on Nirvana's 1991 album cover for Nevermind is all grown up and now suing the band over claims of child sexual exploitation and violating child pornography statutes.
The 30-year-old Spencer Elden, who appeared on the cover when he was four months old, is taking legal action and filed a lawsuit against 15 defendants, including the surviving members of Nirvana, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as Kurt Cobain's estate, photographer Kirk Weddle, and the labels involved in releasing the album, Universal Music and Geffen Records.
Elden is seeking actual damages, or liquidated damages amounting to $150,000 USD per defendant, attorney's fees and a trial by jury, according to court documents.
Filed on August 24, the lawsuit states: "The permanent harm he has proximately suffered includes but is not limited to extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations, interference with his normal development and educational progress, lifelong loss of income earning capacity, loss of past and future wages, past and future expenses for medical and psychological treatment, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses to be described and proven at trial of this matter."
Elden claims that the defendants have violated federal child pornography statutes and that he sustained "injuries" and "lifelong damages" as a result of "commercial child sexual exploitation of him from while he was a minor to the present day."
The lawsuit also alleges that "neither Spencer nor his legal guardians ever signed a release authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him."
Previously, Elden has recreated the album covers multiple times (wearing swim trunks each time, we might add) to celebrate the album's 10th, 20th and 25th anniversaries. The 30-year-old also has a large tattoo across his chest that says "Nevermind."
In a 2016 interview with TIME, marking the 25th anniversary of the album, Elden said he hadn't fully come to terms with appearing on the cover and had previously looked into legal action against label Geffen Records.
"It's hard not to get upset when you hear how much money was involved," he said. "[When] I go to a baseball game and think about it: 'Man, everybody at this baseball game has probably seen my little baby penis,' I feel like I got part of my human rights revoked." Elden also tried reaching out to the band but was unsuccessful.
Grohl, Novoselic, Weddle, nor the estate of Cobain have publicly responded to the lawsuit.