Nirvana Lawsuit Over ‘Nevermind’ Album Cover Is Dismissed By Judge

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A judge in California recently dismissed the lawsuit of the swimming baby of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ who sued the band for exploitation and child pornography.

After establishing themselves as part of Seattle’s grunge scene in the late 1980s, Nirvana released their ‘Nevermind’ album in 1991. The band found unexpected success, especially after the release of the album’s first single, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ Later on, the album became considered a classic and a cultural phenomenon of the 1990s.

‘Nevermind’s album cover, which features a nude baby, Spencer Elden, is among the most famous album covers in music history. The photographer who took the picture was concerned that the baby’s visible penis might cause offense, but Kurt Cobain implied that a person who might be offended by this must be a closet pedophile.

For ‘Nevermind’s 10th, 17th, and 25th anniversaries, Spencer Elden recreated the album cover for photographers. He then appeared on shows and gave interviews about being the swimming baby of ‘Nevermind’ and stated he wishes to create a re-enactment shot of the album cover completely naked, and it would be fun.

Although Elden has enjoyed the fame brought to him by ‘Nevermind’s album cover, he filed a lawsuit in August 2021 against the photographer Kirk Weddle, Cobain’s estate, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic. He claimed that they used his picture without his consent; hence, it violated federal child pornography statutes and resulted in damaging him.

Furthermore, Elden also sought damages of $150,000 each from 15 different parties, including Courtney Love, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and photographer Weddle. Recently, the Nirvana estate sought dismissal of the lawsuit, arguing that Elden spent many years profiting from being the Nirvana Baby.

Talking about Spencer Elden’s lawsuit and his stance on that, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl said he hasn’t spent much of his time thinking about it, and just like most people do, he disagrees with that. Moreover, when Vulture’s interviewer asked him about Elden’s re-creations of the album cover, Grohl ironically said Elden has a ‘Nevermind’ tattoo.

Dave Grohl told Vulture about his stance against this issue the following:

“I don’t know that I can speak about it because I haven’t spent too much time thinking about it. I feel the same way most people do in that I have to disagree. That’s all I’ll say.”

After Vulture’s host, Craig Jenkins told him Elden re-created the picture four times, Grohl said:

“Listen, he’s got a ‘Nevermind’ tattoo. I don’t.”

Elden’s lawyers missed the deadline on December 30, 2021, to file an opposition. So, Judge Fernando M. Olguin dismissed the case with leave to amend on January 3. The new deadline is now January 13, and the suit is set to be dismissed if Elden misses it again.