Photo lawsuit

Nirvana ‘baby porn’ case dismissed by judge

Spencer Elden sued over the Nirvana album cover photograph

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man claiming rock group Nirvana engaged in child pornography when a photo of him as a baby was used on the cover of its Nevermind album. 

Spencer Elden, now 30, filed the lawsuit last year, demanding the band members and other defendants each pay $150,000 for taking the photo.

Mr Elden was 4 months old in 1991 when the photo of him naked was shot in a swimming pool by Erik Weddle, who was reportedly friends with Mr Elden’s father.

Mr Elden’s lawsuit accused the band of sexual exploitation and violating federal child pornography statutes.

Elden named the band, surviving members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear, the estate of Kurt Cobain, Weddle and several music catalogues, including Warner Records, MCA Music and Universal Music Group.

He said the infamous image had caused him “extreme and permanent emotional distress” as well as loss of wages and “enjoyment of life”.

Nirvana’s lawywers said Elden had seemed to enjoy the notoriety of being the “Nirvana baby”.

“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-coloured 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.”

Judge Fernando M Olguin, sitting in a California court, dismissed the case “with leave to amend,” giving Elden until 13 January to refile the lawsuit.



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