By: C. Paixão
Nirvana’s 'Nevermind' album, released on the 24th of September, 1991, is being sued by the famous underwater baby on the album cover. The now 30-year old Spencer Elden decided to sue Nirvana and Kurt Cobain’s estate on grounds of alleged pornography and child exploitation. The cover of the 'Nevermind' album depicts Elden as a four-month-old in a swimming pool reaching for a dollar bill that is hanging in front of him in a fishing line.
In 2019, Kirk Weddle, the photographer who captured the album cover, spoke to the Guardian, saying that he was still in contact with Elden and acknowledged that he was “conflicted about the picture”. Moreover, the photographer said: "He feels that everybody made money off it and he didn't,” and added: “I think he deserves something. But it's always the record labels that make the money”.
The lawsuit seeks at least $150,000 from each of the dozen defendants, including Kurt Cobain’s estate, the surviving three other Nirvana members: Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Geffen Records. Elden decided to file the lawsuit now as he “finally got the courage to hold these actors accountable,”. This was said by Maggie Mabie, one of his lawyers, to the Associated Press Wednesday.
Despite the album cover being 30 years old, Maggie said that the lawsuit is within the statue limitation of federal child pornography law. There are various reasons for this, including the fact that the 'Nevermind' album cover is still the same and they are still earning money for it. As a result, one of the terms that Eden wants to include in his lawsuit is that any new versions of the album must be altered. As Eden’s lawyer has said, “If there is a 30th anniversary re-release, he wants for the entire world not to see his genitals”.
The lawsuit is still being negotiated and processed by the Californian court. However, a trial is predicted to take place in the near future as the case was first filed in September of 2021.