The word “Nevermind” has been stuck in the planet’s collective consciousness ever since Nirvana released their album of that title in 1991. But now it’s a word (technically two) that the infant subject on its cover, Spencer Elden, now 30, is going to be saying even more now when people ask him “So, how’d that lawsuit go against Nirvana?”.
He sued the band last year, alleging “sexual exploitation” and that the cover artwork constituted “child sexual abuse”. The band’s estate responded that Elden had “spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby.’”, having recreated the album photograph a number of times, appeared on talk shows, and autographed copies of the album to sell on eBay. The judge seemed to agree with this argument.
Nirvana filed to have the case dismissed a month ago, claiming that “Elden’s claim that the photograph on the Nevermind album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious,” and that anybody who owned a copy of it would be “guilty of felony possession of child pornography”. They continued stating that Elden definitely seemed to have made the most of his appearance on the album cover ever since then.
He has re-enacted the photograph in exchange for a fee, many times; he has had the album title… tattooed across his chest; he has appeared on a talk show wearing a self-parodying, nude-colored onesie; he has autographed copies of the album cover for sale on eBay; and he has used the connection to try to pick up women.
– Nirvana’s lawyers
Elden’s legal team has until January 13th to refile the case with appropriate changes. If they do, Nirvana’s estate has until January 27th to respond. If they don’t, it’s over.