Baby from Nirvana's 1991 'Nevermind' Album Sues Band for Inappropriate Use of Image
The model appeared as a naked baby on the cover of the musical rock band and has now come forward claiming the record’s artwork is inapt and that he is suing them over alleged “child sexual exploitation.”
Spencer Elden featured as an infant swimming underwater in the group's album while undressed with his eyes fixated on the one-dollar bill.
After the album release, the photo became one of the most enduring images in rock music. However, that all changed after he filed a complaint on Tuesday, August 23.
The complaint was filed at a federal court in California and obtained by CNN. Elden's attorneys stated the picture was obscene and that he suffered "lifelong damages" as a result.
The now 30-year-old has listed the surviving band members (as the lead singer Kurt Cobain died in 1994), Kurt Kobain's estate executors, and various record labels as defendants.
Elden is seeking $150,000 in damages from each defendant, including legal costs and even claims they “knowingly produced, possessed and advertised commercial child sexual abuse.”
The suit also claims Elden was sexualized because the dollar bill used in the photo made the baby resemble "a sex worker." He also went as far as attempting to recreate the image at times during his adulthood.
The man whose baby portrait was used for the cover of Nirvana's 'Nevermind' has filed a lawsuit alleging that the nude image constituted child pornography. https://t.co/4Zw5BpvbWW— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 25, 2021
In interviews, he revealed the popularity of the album made him uncomfortable. Back in 2007, he told the Sunday Times that he found it:
"Creepy that many people have seen me naked … I feel like the world's biggest porn star."
Elden told TMZ on Wednesday, August 25, that he is only “asking the band to do what they should have done 30 years ago and redact my genitals from the image out of respect for my privacy.”
He claims they promised to cover his genitals with a sticker but did not keep their word. Seeing that he could not consent to it because he was only four months old at the time, his legal guardians did not give the band consent either.
'It's a constant reminder that he has no privacy. His privacy is worthless to the world,' argues #SpencerElden's lawyer on why he has decided to sue #Nirvana for the #Nevermind cover | via @nytimes https://t.co/tzK0ihu9yE— Firstpost (@firstpost) August 26, 2021
The album is one of the best-selling records and has at least 30 million copies sold globally. Although it was a success, the same cannot be said for Elden, who has instead suffered "permanent harm" because of his association with it.
It includes emotional distress and a “lifelong loss of income-earning capacity.” To date, Elden is an artist residing in Los Angeles County and has reportedly gone to therapy for years to work through how the album cover affected him.
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