Spencer Elden: ‘Nirvana baby’ refiles lawsuit over Nevermind cover art

Lawsuit was dismissed by a US judge earlier this month

Maanya Sachdeva
Friday 14 January 2022 09:02
Chris Cuomo questions 'Nirvana baby' lawsuit

The man who featured as a naked baby on the cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind has refiled his lawsuit against the rock band.

Spencer Elden was four months old when he was photographed naked in a pool for the album cover. Now 30, he alleges that the picture constitutes child pornography as it shows his genitalia.

According to court documents filed on 11 January, and obtained by the Press Association, lawyers acting on behalf of Elden said former members of the band had “leveraged the lascivious nature of his image” to promote their famous album “while earning, at a minimum, tens of millions of dollars in the aggregate”.

Elden would “continue to suffer damages as long as the violations described above persist”, the lawsuit continued.

After Elden’s previous lawsuit was dismissed by a US judge earlier this month, he was given until Thursday (13 January) to pursue the case and file a second amended complaint.

The Independent has contacted Nirvana representatives for comment.

In the original claim, filed in August 2021, Elden’s legal camp alleged Nirvana “failed to take reasonable steps to protect Spencer and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and image trafficking”.

These allegations have now been dropped.

Elden and the album artwork

The defendants’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss Elden’s lawsuit in December last year, claiming he had “spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby’”, including recreating the photo for money and having “Nevermind” tattooed on his chest.

At the time, Nirvana said the lawsuit was “not serious”.

On the original album cover, Elden was shown naked underwater while reaching for a dollar bill dangling from a fish hook.

The image has become one of the most famous album covers of all time.

Elden is suing the group, its individual members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Courtney Love (as executor of the Kurt Cobain estate), photographer Kirk Weddle, graphic designer Robert Fisher, and record label UMG Recordings over the picture and its allegedly indiscriminate use.

The album Nevermind, powered by singles including “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Come As You Are” and “Lithium”, was a massive critical and commercial success, propelling the grunge band to global stardom.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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