Nirvana is being sued by Spencer Elden, the baby featured on the infamous Nirvana album cover, for child pornography and child sexual exploitation. He is suing the surviving members of Nirvana, the Kurt Cobain Estate, photographer Kirk Weddle, who took the picture, and the labels involved in the release of the album. Elden, who is seeking $150,000 in damages from each party, is looking at about $2,250,000 in damages from the total of 15 parties. Elden claims that his parents allegedly never signed a release on the picture’s usage, and where only paid a small sum for the picture initially and received nothing else, even as Elden’s “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 cover in question, which belongs to Nirvana’s Nevermind Album, shows a four-month-old Spencer Elden completely naked in a body of water with a dollar bill being dangled in front of him. The original picture, shot by Kirk Weddle, was taken at the Pasadena aquatic center, where Elden’s would take him as a child. According to TMZ, the federal lawsuit alleges that the band promised to put a sticker over the baby’s genitals, but ended up not placing it on the cover. The late Kurt Cobain then allegedly chose it as the cover of the album.
The move to take legal action does not come as a shock, as Elden has shared his mixed feeling about the cover in interviews throughout the years, despite recreating the cover both as a teenager and adult. Representatives for Nirvana and their record labels have yet to respond to the lawsuit publicly.