The baby from Nirvana's 1991 Nevermind album is suing the band over alleged child pornography

midian182

Posts: 7,293   +65
Staff member
WTF?! The name Spencer Elden won't be familiar to most people, but they might recognize the photograph of the now 30-year-old as a baby on the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind album. It's one of the most iconic pieces of album art of all time, so it's somewhat surprising to learn that three decades after its release, Elden is suing the band over alleged child pornography.

The Nevermind cover depicts then four-month-old Elden naked in a pool as he tries to catch a dollar bill attached to a fishing line. He now says his parents, who were paid $200 for the photo, never signed a release authorizing the use of his image on the album and that it constitutes child pornography.

According to Variety, Elden's lawyer, Robert Y. Lewis, says that the shot makes the baby appear "like a sex worker" and that Elden was exploited to boost the album's sales and increase its attention.

"Defendants intentionally commercially marketed Spencer's child pornography and leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music at his expense," reads the lawsuit. "Defendants used child pornography depicting Spencer as an essential element of a record promotion scheme commonly utilized in the music industry to get attention, wherein album covers posed children in a sexually provocative manner to gain notoriety, drive sales, and garner media attention, and critical reviews."

It's also alleged that Nirvana had promised to cover Elden's genitals with a sticker, but reneged on the agreement.

Elden says his "true identity and legal name are forever tied to the commercial sexual exploitation he experienced as a minor which has been distributed and sold worldwide from the time he was a baby to the present day."

Elden claims to "suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages" as a result of the image, including "extreme and permanent emotional distress" along with "interference with his normal development and educational progress" and "medical and psychological treatment". He is now seeking $150,000 from each of 17 named defendants, including surviving band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, record executives, photographer Kirk Weddle, and Courtney Love, the former wife and executor of Kurt Cobain's estate.

Elden has previously recreated the image of the Nevermind album for its 10th, 17th, 20th, and 25th anniversaries. He often expressed mixed feelings towards being the "Nirvana baby" in interviews, but before now never described it as pornographic or exploitative. In a 2016 interview with Time magazine, he said, "It's hard not to get upset when you hear how much money was involved."

"[When] I go to a baseball game and think about it: 'Man, everybody at this baseball game has probably seen my little baby penis,' I feel like I got part of my human rights revoked."

Conversely, in a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Elden said, "It's always been a positive thing and opened doors for me." He also has a “Nevermind” tattoo across his chest.

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Adi6293

Posts: 931   +1,309
What a load of nonsense....... If he even gets a penny this will be the joke of the century. He's been an adult for 12 years and only now he wants to sue? Somebody obviously talked him into it and how is it even legal to sue after 30 years? His parents had 30 bloody years to sue if the picture was used without a permission or full agreement on how it would be used.... I just can't handle the stupidly on display here....
 
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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,848   +4,508
Agree with everyone here. Shame he didn't drown when he recreated the cover.

Even if he wins everyone's gonna know him as an absolute tool.
Ironically nobody but hardcore nirvana nerds would know who he was if he'd kept his mouth shut.
He probably voted for Trump
Highly unlikely, as the media has not labeled his as a bigoted white supremacist racist sexist transphobic nazi yet. He's Ridin' with Biden all the way to the courtroom.
 

OortCloud

Posts: 659   +547
Sounds like he has based his entire life around that photo, which is tragic in itself, and now has discarded all dignity and morals to chase after the dollar bill on the end of that hook. What a tool.
 

eforce

Posts: 584   +732
For all we know this guy has been tortured for the last 30 years being called Mr Baby Penis and only just found out why.
 

supra5mge

Posts: 17   +34
Ironic, the album cover perfectly describes what he is doing now.
Exactly. Plus those anniversary photos I mentioned show, to me, that he strives for attention as well. Essentially the antithesis for everything Nirvana sang about. Or the struggle we each endure between societal pressures and our nature. I am no Nirvana fanboy either. Neutral honestly. Just call it as I see it.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,483   +2,120
Very true, but his behavior shows otherwise. I could see him possibly being entitled to royalties. I often would look at this album and wonder how this person felt about it. The only real way to know? To be him.
I'm pretty sure whatever papers his parents signed before this was taken he is probably not due anything. Maybe a case for the photographer but even that would be reaching as he also got paid.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,863   +2,217
TechSpot Elite
I really don't know what to make of this. Maybe Nirvana should give him some money because his image helped to make them richer than Midas and it's certainly worth more than $200 but child pornography? My arse!

How is it that he's so bothered by the fact that so many people saw his dong when he was a baby? I doubt that even Winston Churchill, the man who STILL looked like a baby when he was old, could be identified from photos of his infancy. If this was so "mentally damaging" to him, he wouldn't have had "NEVERMIND" tattooed across his chest. It's clear that he's dumb as a box of rocks and some blood-sucking lawyer talked him into this.
Lawyer doings what they do best…
Yep, it's just a shame that they do the worst things best.
What a load of nonsense....... If he even gets a penny this will be the joke of the century. He's been an adult for 12 years and only now he wants to sue? Somebody obviously talked him into it and how is it even legal to sue after 30 years? His parents had 30 bloody years to sue if the picture was used without a permission or full agreement on how it would be used.... I just can't handle the stupidly on display here....
This isn't really stupidity, it's a load of BS because I don't believe for one minute that ANY of it is genuine. Stupidity is based on people ACTUALLY believing in something that's completely false and refusing to see the truth:
- Flat Earthers
- Anti-Vaxxers
- Anti-Maskers
- People who believe that COVID is a hoax
- People who were 100% sure that Barack Obama was a Muslim Arab who was born in Kenya when he first ran for president. (Even stupider are the ones who STILL believe that.)
^^^ Now THOSE are stupidity at it's best/worst. ^^^
An opportunist, trying to get some money.
Yep, or an opportunist trying to exploit someone who isn't that bright.
Seems like a money grab. His “anniversary” pics will not help him in court. Also, that photo is a statement of how we are conditioned at birth in western society to pursue material wealth. It is arguably art.
There's no argument, it IS art and it DOES make that commentary about Western Society.
It's what built America...
It's also what's going to tear America down.
Ironic, the album cover perfectly describes what he is doing now.
Yep, and even more ironic (to the point of being hypocritical) is that it also perfectly described what Nirvana was doing at the time. They were making music in hopes of getting rich, famous and laid. Those are the reasons why people get that far into music production.
Ironically nobody but hardcore nirvana nerds would know who he was if he'd kept his mouth shut.
Yup, but he wanted his 15 minutes of fame.
Highly unlikely, as the media has not labeled his as a bigoted white supremacist racist sexist transphobic nazi yet. He's Ridin' with Biden all the way to the courtroom.
Well at least he has THAT going for him, if nothing else.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,863   +2,217
TechSpot Elite
Very true, but his behavior shows otherwise. I could see him possibly being entitled to royalties. I often would look at this album and wonder how this person felt about it. The only real way to know? To be him.
There's another way to know. The fact that "NEVERMIND" is tattooed across his chest. That tells me that he's not only not damaged by it, but that it's a source of pride and identity for him. If it were so humiliating to him, he wouldn't be constantly calling attention to it with a permanent beacon like that.
 

DCOCA

Posts: 10   +6
Agree with everyone here. Shame he didn't drown when he recreated the cover.

Even if he wins everyone's gonna know him as an absolute tool. He probably voted for Trump

I’m with all of you that this dude is just trying to swindle money, but to wish death on someone is pretty stupid on your part.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,362   +7,165
Back in the day it wasn't a problem, now, a major headache. BUT it just goes to serve as a good reminder that no matter what you do, it's smart to be mindful of what could happen later .... of course, I have yet to meet the person with that accurate a vision. And lets face it gentlemen, that is about as unique a pick up line as any dude is ever going to get!
 

gabelogan1324

Posts: 28   +22
What a load of nonsense....... If he even gets a penny this will be the joke of the century. He's been an adult for 12 years and only now he wants to sue? Somebody obviously talked him into it and how is it even legal to sue after 30 years? His parents had 30 bloody years to sue if the picture was used without a permission or full agreement on how it would be used.... I just can't handle the stupidly on display here....
yup thank you I was thiking the same thing lol