The cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind, which is credited with helping to reinvent rock music, depicts a nude 4-month-old infant swimming in a pool after a dollar bill punctured with a fish hook. Nevermind sold more than 30,000,000 copies globally and became one of the most sold albums of all time.
Now 30 years old, Spencer Elden is suing Nirvana for child pornography and exploitation, alleging that the band benefited from the distribution of a naked photo of Elden as a baby. In a complaint filed in federal court in California, Spencer Elden claimed that the image used on the cover of the 1991 Nevermind album caused him lifelong harm.
MCA Music, Warner Records, Geffen Records, Universal Music, photographer Kirk Weddle, Kurt Cobain’s estate, and band members are among the defendants. He is suing each of the defendants for $150,000 in damages.
Requests for comment from Universal Music Group, Weddle, and a spokesperson for Love were not immediately returned.
Weddle is accused of creating a “sexually graphic” snapshot of Elden, according to the lawsuit. It says that there was some resistance to including Elden’s genitals on the album cover at first, and the intention was to cover it with a sticker. Weddle, who was a friend of Elden’s father, took the cover photo.
According to the lawsuit, Elden’s parents never signed a release permitting the use of the photograph, and Elden never got any money.
Elden has endured emotional anguish and interference with his educational and emotional growth, according to Lewis.
Elden, then in high school, struggled to make sense of his public image in a 2008 interview with NPR.
Mr Elden has Nevermind tattooed on his chest and replicated the picture as an adult in 2016.
Mr Weddle said in 2019 to The Guardian that he was still in touch with Mr Elden.