Lawsuit Over Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Baby Album Cover Dismissed

by Samantha Whidden

Less than six months after Spencer Elden, who is known as the naked baby on Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album, announced he was planning to sue Kurt Cobain’s former band over the cover, it has been reported that the lawsuit has officially been dismissed. 

As previously reported, Elden sued Nirvana, record companies, Courtney Love, and others over the album cover. He declared that the album exposed his genitalia for profit. Elden’s parents notably never signed a waiver for the image. Nor did Elden receive any compensation. Elden was seeking $150,000 from each of the 15 people and companies named in the complaint. This included the photographer, Kirk Weddle.

The Nirvana album cover features baby Elden floating naked in a pool. Although the cover does not show his private parts, Elden also accused the rock band of using his likeness to spread child pornography. The lawsuit reads, “Defendants knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so.

Following the news that the lawsuit was happening, the album celebrated its 30th birthday. “Nevermind” has reportedly sold more than 30 million copies. According to Deadline, U.S. District Judge, Fernando M. Olguin, announced on Monday (January 3rd) that he granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. However, the judge stated that Elden would get “one last opportunity” to amend his complaint by January 13th. 

The defendant’s attorneys actually argue that Elden’s claims are “time-barred” by the statute of limitation. They also said that Elden had spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed “Nirvana Baby” as well. “Elden’s claim that the photograph on the ‘Nevermind’ album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious,” the attorney declares. “A brief examination of the photograph or Elden’s own conduct makes that clear.”

Spencer Elden’s Lawyers Speak About Nirvana’s “Nevemind” Album Cover Impact

Following the lawsuit’s filing in August 2021, the New York Times spoke to Spencer Elden’s lawyers about the effect that Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album cover impacted the man over the years. Maggie Mabie, one of the lawyers, stated, “He hasn’t met anyone who hasn’t seen his genitalia. It’s a constant reminder that he has no privacy. His privacy is worthless to the world.”

Elden’s lawyers also said that his picture was selected from dozens of photos of babies that Weddle photographed for the album cover. The photographer ended up paying Elden’s parents $200 for the photo. The image was eventually altered to show the baby chasing a dollar. Which was dangling from a fishhook. 

Mabie said that the album’s alternations are meant to be controversial. This is due to controversy sells. “The point was not just to create a menacing image but to cross the line. And they did so in a way that exposed Spencer so that they could profit off of it.”