- 25 Aug 21
Elden says in the lawsuit that the album cover has caused him "extreme and permanent emotional distress."
Spencer Elden, who appeared on the iconic cover of Nevermind as a baby, is suing Nirvana over alleged sexual exploitation.
The 30-year-old claims that his parents never signed a release allowing him to appear on the album, also alleging that the image constitutes child sexual abuse imagery.
He claims that his "true identity and legal name are forever tied to the commercial sexual exploitation he experienced as a minor which has been distributed and sold worldwide from the time he was a baby to the present day".
Elden further states in legal papers that he "has suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages" as a result of the artwork, including "extreme and permanent emotional distress" as well as "interference with his normal development and educational progress" and "medical and psychological treatment".
His lawyer, Robert Y. Lewis, argues that the dollar bill he's reaching for (later dited into the photograph) makes the minor seem "like a sex worker".
One of the biggest and most influential albums of all time, Nirvana's Nevermind has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide since its 1991 release.
In response to their record label's concerns about having a baby's genitalia on the cover, the band said they would only compromise by putting a sticker on the album saying, "If you're offended by this, you must be a closet paedophile."
In 2016, Elden recreated the image while in his mid-20s to celebrate the album's 25th anniversary.
Spencer Elden, the baby on Nirvana's Nevermind, recreates album cover 25 years later. pic.twitter.com/EpvzhtDcvC
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) September 24, 2016