Spencer Elden, the man who appears as a naked baby on Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album, is suing the band for the photo of child pornography.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in the US District Court for the Central District of California, accuses Nirvana of violating federal child pornography laws in using the image and is calling for a jury trial.
30-year-old Elden is seeking $ 150,000 in damages from each of the 15 named defendants, including Nirvana, Warner Records, Universal Records, band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, Courtney Love (executor of Kurt Cobain’s estate), Guy Oseary and Heather Parry (as administrators of Cobain’s estate).
Spencer Elden, the man whose unusual baby portrait was used on one of the most iconic album covers of all time, Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” filed a lawsuit alleging that the nude photo portrayed child pornography. The image shown is a cropped version.
Elden’s attorney said at least 40 or 50 photos were taken at the time, but the image selected showed Elden “like a sex worker – reaching for a dollar bill dangling from a fishhook in front of his bare body.”
The filing claims that Elden and his parents did not sign a release allowing use of the images.
Elden’s lawyer claimed he suffered from the album cover and will continue to suffer lifelong damage.
Elden recreated the photo more than once, most recently for the 25th anniversary of the album. At the time he said he wanted to pose naked, but the photographer “thought it was strange”.
Elden had expressed mixed feelings about the album cover but had never referred to it as child pornography.
According to the lawsuit, Nirvana sold more than 30 million copies of Nevermind.
Universal Media Group and Warner Music Group, the parent company of Warner Records, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.