Man photographed as baby for cover of Nirvana’s album ‘Nevermind’ sues the band for child sexual exploitation

The man who was photographed as a baby for the album cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album, “Nevermind” is suing the band over allegations of child sexual exploitation. 30-year-old Spencer Elden is claiming that the nude image of him as a four-month-old in swimming pool constitutes child pornography. Legal papers filed in California state that “The images exposed Spencer’s intimate body part and lasciviously displayed Spencer’s genitals from the time he was an infant to the present day,” and claim that Elden “has suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages” as a result of the artwork, including “extreme and permanent emotional distress.” Elden alleges 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.”

The lawsuit also claims that the family was not compensated for the photo shoot; that his parents never signed a release authorizing the use of his image on the album; and that the band failed to deliver on a promise to cover Elden’s genitals with a sticker. Elden’s suit seeks damages of at least $150,000 from each of the 15 named defendants, who include surviving band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic; the managers of Kurt Cobain’s estate; Cobain’s former wife Courtney Love; and Weddle. Non-sexualized photos of infants are generally not considered child pornography under U.S. law.


Editorial credit: Stefano Chiacchiarini /