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Baby Who Appeared on the Cover of ‘Nevermind’ Album is Suing Nirvana

Credit: Unsplash

Almost everyone familiar with music is aware of Nirvana’s iconic 1991 album, “Nevermind.” The album’s lead track, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” is particularly renowned. Aside from the music, the album’s cover, featuring a naked baby in a swimming pool reaching for a dollar bill, is also famous. That baby, Spencer Elden, is now 30 years old. While he had previously been fine with the album, his feelings towards it have evolved over time.

Elden has taken legal action against Nirvana, claiming that the use of his baby photo on the “Nevermind” cover constitutes child pornography because he was depicted naked. The lawsuit states, “The images exposed Spencer’s intimate body parts and lasciviously displayed Spencer’s genitals from infancy to the present day.”

Though images of naked infants are typically not regarded as pornographic, Elden’s attorney, Robert Y. Lewis, argues that the presence of a dollar bill in the picture gives an inappropriate connotation. Elden also alleges that his parents did not authorize the image to be used, and Nirvana failed to fulfill an alleged promise to cover his lower body with a sticker.

Elden expresses that his “true identity and legal name will forever be linked to the commercial sexual exploitation he faced as a minor, which has been globally distributed and sold from his infancy until today.”

He further claims that he has endured and will continue to endure lifelong harm due to the cover, such as “severe and lasting emotional distress,” as well as hindrances to his normal development, education, and necessitated medical and psychological treatment.

Elden is seeking $150,000 in damages from the band members and their representatives. As of now, Nirvana has not issued any statements regarding the lawsuit.

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