Naked Nirvana Baby’s Nevermind Pornography Lawsuit Dismissed

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Spencer Elden had claimed that the cover constituted child sexual exploitation

Nirvana in a white room in 1992
Nirvana in 1992 (Gutchie Kojima/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Nirvana’s naked-baby artwork for Nevermind constitutes child sexual exploitation, the BBC reports. The baby in question, Spencer Elden, who is now 30, claimed he suffered “lifelong damages,” including loss of wages, as a result of the album cover, and described the enterprise as a “sex trafficking venture.” Last month, a lawyer for the band filed to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Elden’s claim “is, on its face, not serious.” The lawyer added that the statute of limitations on the claims had expired in 2011. Elden’s team had until December 30 to respond to the motion to dismiss, but missed the deadline. 

The surviving members of Nirvana (Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic), the estate of Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, photographer Kirk Weddle, the labels that released Nevermind, and other parties were all named as defendants in the lawsuit. In the motion to dismiss, their lawyer said that long before the statute of limitations expired, “Elden knew about the photograph, and knew that he (and not someone else) was the baby in the photograph.” They argued that, for years, Elden had participated in paid campaigns recreating the cover image, in addition to getting the album’s titled tattooed on his chest. If Elden’s claim were true, they said, everybody who owned the album cover would be “guilty of felony possession of child pornography.”

Elden has until January 13 to refile the case with appropriate changes, the BBC notes. Pitchfork has reached out to representatives and attorneys for Nirvana, as well as an attorney for Elden, for comment.

Read “A Brief History of Musicians Being Sued by Their Album Cover Subjects” on the Pitch.

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