Anyone with even a passing interest in music knows about Nirvana’s 1991 album, “Nevermind.” The first track on the record is “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” it’s a fantastic album. In addition to the music itself, the album is also known for its cover, which features an image of a naked baby in a swimming pool toddling after a dollar bill. That baby, Spencer Elden, is now 30 years old, and while he’s previously been okay with the album, he’s gotten progressively less okay with it.
Elden has filed a lawsuit against Nirvana on the grounds that using his baby picture for the “Nevermind” cover was an act of child pornography, due to the fact that he was naked. “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,” the lawsuit reads.
While images of naked infants are not typically considered pornographic in nature, Elden’s lawyer, Robert Y. Lewis, claims that the inclusion of a dollar bill in the image makes the young Elden look like “a sex worker.” Additionally, Elden has claimed that his parents did not sign a release for the image to be used, nor did Nirvana uphold a supposed promise to cover Elden’s lower body with a sticker.
Nirvana sued by the baby from Nevermind’s album cover https://t.co/YAJH6BY1HN
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 25, 2021
Elden said 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”.
He added that he “has suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages” due to the cover, including “extreme and permanent emotional distress” as well as “interference with his normal development and educational progress” and “medical and psychological treatment”.
Elden is seeking $150,000 in damages from the band’s members and their representatives. Nirvana has not commented on the matter as of writing.