Nirvana‘s surviving members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic and the estate of Kurt Cobain have been sued by Spencer Elden, who appeared as a baby on the cover of 1991’s Nevermind. As TMZ reports, Elden has sued the above parties, as well as photographer Kirk Weddle and the labels involved in the album’s release, alleging that the artwork is childhood pornography.
The lawsuit, filed August 24, claims that Elden has sustained “injuries” and “lifelong damages” as a result of the artwork, including “extreme and permanent emotional distress” as well as “interference with his normal development and educational progress” and “medical and psychological treatment,” according to legal documents uploaded by Pitchfork. He also alleges that the band promised to cover his genitals with a sticker, though the album was ultimately released without one. Elder is asking for damages of at least $150,000 from each party named in the lawsuit, attorney fees, and a trial by jury.
Elden has recreated the image at various points in his life and had “Nevermind” tattooed on his chest. However, in a 2016 interview with GQ Australia, he revealed his perspective on the artwork had shifted around the time of his most recent photo reenactment. “It’s fucked up. I’m pissed off about it, to be honest,” he said. “Recently I’ve been thinking, ‘What if I wasn’t OK with my freaking penis being shown to everybody?’ I didn’t really have a choice.”