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Nevermind Baby Refiles Lawsuit Against Nirvana

A lawsuit alleging that Nirvana’s Nevermind artwork constitutes child pornography has been revived after it was dismissed by a California federal judge last week, Rolling Stone reports and documents viewed by Pitchfork confirm. Spencer Elden, who is now 30 but was a baby when his naked photo was featured on the album cover, filed a second amended complaint on Wednesday (January 12). The case had been dismissed after Elden’s team missed a December 30 deadline to respond to the Nirvana team’s motion for dismissal. Elden has now met the January 13 deadline to adjust the lawsuit.

The refiled complaint claims that Nirvana, Kurt Cobain’s estate, photographer Kurt Weddle, and a number of record labels “intentionally commercially marketed the child pornography depicting Spencer and leveraged the lascivious nature of his image to promote the Nevermind album, the band, and Nirvana’s music, while earning, at a minimum, tens of millions of dollars in the aggregate.” The suit has removed a claim alleging that the defendants did “knowingly benefit from participation in what they know or should know is a sex trafficking venture.”

Elden’s initial lawsuit was filed in August 2021. It claimed that Elden suffered “lifelong damages” from the album cover and that his legal guardians never signed a release “authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him.”

In a motion to dismiss filed last year, Nirvana’s lawyer said that Elden “has re-enacted the photograph in exchange for a fee, many times; he has had the album title Nevermind tattooed across his chest; he has appeared on a talk show wearing a self-parodying, nude-colored onesie; he has autographed copies of the album cover for sale on eBay; and he has used the connection to try to pick up women.” The lawyer also argued that the statute of limitations on Elden’s allegations, including the alleged trafficking crimes, had expired.

Pitchfork has reached out to lawyers and representatives for Nirvana, as well as lawyers for Spencer Elden, for comment and more information.


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