The baby on the cover of Nirvana’s iconic 1991 second album, Not seriousgrew up and claims the image caused him “permanent harm”.
Now 31, Spencer Elden, who appeared as a four-month-old naked baby on the album cover, has lost his case against the 90s grunge band. Claiming the image constitutes abuse sexual abuse and child sexual abuse, Elden says he suffered “lifelong damage”, including “extreme and lifelong emotional distress” from the album cover.
The lawsuit claimed, “Defendants knowingly produced, possessed and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer.” Claiming $150,000 in damages, Elden said he was unable to consent to the use of the photo.
Elden filed his first case in 2021, describing selling the album as a “sex trafficking business” in which he “was coerced into engaging in commercial sex acts when he was under the age of 18.” The lawsuit was dismissed due to a missed deadline to respond to the defendant’s motion to dismiss. He filed a new lawsuit in January this year, amending the original lawsuit by dropping the trafficking allegations and doubling down on the child pornography allegations.
Judge Fernando Olguin dismissed the case on September 2, ruling that it was filed beyond the 10-year statute of limitations from the date the plaintiff turned 18. Elden should have filed before he turned 28. Judge Olguin took the case to a close, blocking any future filings. However, Elden says he intends to appeal.
A defense attorney called the case “baseless”. The original motion to dismiss, filed by band members and frontman Kurt Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, stated, “Elden has spent three decades enjoying his stardom as the self-proclaimed ‘Nirvana Baby.’ He re-enacted the photograph in return for a royalty, on several occasions; he got the title of the album, Not serious, tattooed on his chest; he appeared on a talk show wearing a self-parodying nude-colored onesie; he autographed copies of the album cover to sell on eBay, and he used the connection to try to pick up women.