The man who appeared as a baby on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind is suing the band for alleged child pornography, court documents have shown.
Spencer Elden, now 30, has filed a lawsuit against the two surviving members of the band as well as Kurt Cobain’s estate claiming that neither he nor his guardians consented to his image being used for the album and that the cover violates federal child pornography laws.
In documents first obtained by TMZ, Elden argues that the famous photo of him swimming naked in a pool as a baby represents a ‘sex trafficking venture’ and that in participating in the shoot he was ‘was forced to engage in commercial sexual acts while under the age of 18 years old’.
He says that his parents did not authorise ‘any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him,’ claiming that he has suffered ‘lifelong damages’ as a result of the photo, Pitchfork reports.
The lawsuit states that Elden has experienced ‘extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations’, as well as ‘interference with his normal development and educational progress’ and ‘lifelong loss of income earning capacity’.
Elden’s feelings about his association with the album cover have clearly changed dramatically over the years. The model has previously recreated the image and has the title of the album tattooed on his chest, telling The Guardian in 2015, ‘It’s always been a positive thing and opened doors for me.’ But in a 2016 interview with GQ Australia, he revealed that he’d grown to become ‘p***ed off’ with the cover, describing the use of his image as ‘f***ed up’.
As well as the band, Elden is also suing photographer Kris Weddle, as well as the band’s label, seeking damages, attorney fees and an injunction against those named in the lawsuit.
Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Cobain’s estate have not publicly commented on the filing.
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