The iconic nude baby photographed for the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album is all grown up and suing the band, alleging the image violates child pornography laws. Spencer Elden, now 30, is seeking $150,000 from each of 17 named defendants, including record executives, Nirvana band members, and Courtney Love, the former wife and executor of Kurt Cobain’s estate,.
The lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by Variety, claims that the defendants knowingly exploited young Elden to increase attention and boost sales.
“Defendants intentionally commercially marketed Spencer’s child pornography and leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music at his expense,” reads the lawsuit. “Defendants used child pornography depicting Spencer as an essential element of a record promotion scheme commonly utilized in the music industry to get attention, wherein album covers posed children in a sexually provocative manner to gain notoriety, drive sales, and garner media attention, and critical reviews.”
As a result, the lawsuit contends that Elden “has suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages.”
Elden’s parents were paid $200 for the photo, but never signed a release authorizing its use, according to the lawsuit. In past interviews, Elden has expressed mixed feelings over the photo but had never described it as pornographic, according to Variety, while regularly celebrating its existence. Not only does he have a “Nevermind” tattoo emblazoned across his chest, he’s also recreated the pose on several occasions (always wearing a swimsuit) to mark the album’s major anniversaries.