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Man featured on Nirvana album cover as nude baby sues, alleges ‘child pornography’

Hall of Fame Inductee of Nirvana, Dave Grohl speaks at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...
Hall of Fame Inductee of Nirvana, Dave Grohl speaks at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Thursday, April, 10, 2014 in New York. Thirty years after the album 'Nevermind,' the baby featured on the album is suing.(Charles Sykes | Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 7:09 AM CDT
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(Gray News) - Thirty years after being featured on the Nirvana “Nevermind” album cover as a nude baby, Spencer Elden has filed a lawsuit against the band.

In the suit filed Tuesday, Robert Y. Lewis, Elden’s lawyer, claims that the photo of the 4-month-old baby swimming underwater with his genitalia exposed constitutes child pornography.

The suit said Elden “has suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages” because of what the lawsuit called “commercial child sexual exploitation.”

Kurt Cobain “chose the image depicting Spencer — like a sex worker— grabbing for a dollar bill that is positioned dangling from a fishhook in front of his nude body with his penis explicitly displayed,” the lawsuit said.

The complaint said that the band used “the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music at his expense” and that the music industry commonly used “album covers pos(ing) children in a sexually provocative manner to gain notoriety, drive sales, and garner media attention and critical reviews.”

The lawsuit cited Scorpion’s “Virgin Killer,” Blind Faith’s “Blind Faith” and Van Halen’s “Balance” as examples of exploitation.

Elden is asking for $150,000 from each defendant listed, which includes Kirk Weddle, Courtney Love, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Universal Music Group, the David Geffen Co., and others responsible for the estate of the late Kurt Cobain.

The band has not yet responded to the lawsuit.

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