Nirvana: Man Who Was Album Cover Sues Band For Porn; look!

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Nirvana: Spencer Elden was just 4 months old when he was the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album, which was released in 1991. The iconic image shows Elden as a baby swimming naked in a pool towards a dollar bill. Thirty years after the album’s release, the young man decided to sue the band alleging “child pornography”.

The story was reported on Tuesday (24) by the website Variety, which claims that the man filed a lawsuit in the United States. He and his lawyer are seeking damages of at least $150,000 (about R$789,000 at current prices) from each of the 17 named, including Dave Grohl (former Nirvana drummer and current leader of Foo Fighters) and Courtney Love (ex-girlfriend and executor of Kurt Cobain’s estate).

Robert Y. Lewis is Elden’s attorney and argues that the disc’s image connotes child pornography because it mixes a naked child and a bill of money. According to him, the baby is looking like “a sex worker”.

“The defendants intentionally marketed Spencer’s child pornography and leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and his music at his (Elven’s) expense,” reads an excerpt from the lawsuit, which was filed in California District Court.

The document states that the image of the man was used at that time as a way to “call the attention” of the music industry and, thus, gain notoriety and media for the album.

process motivation

In addition to Grohl and Love, the action names Krist Novoselic (the band’s former bassist); Guy Oseary and Heather Parry (Cobain Estate Managers); Kirk Weddle (photographer); Robert Fisher (art director) and several defunct or still active record labels that distributed Nevermind.

Even Chad Channing, drummer who was replaced by Dave Grohl in 1990, is named in the lawsuit. Channing did not participate in the recordings of the album as he was not even playing with the band at that time.

According to Elden, his family received just $200 the day of the shoot to register the photo. Despite taking advantage of the success and even recording other images that resemble the cover of the album, the man says that he always felt a little “exploited”.

He revealed that he had tried to contact Grohl and Novoselic to settle the issue amicably, but had always been ignored by the two. Another point that weighs on the process is that Elden’s family did not sign any contract for permission to use the image in 1991.

Those involved in the lawsuit, which include giants Warner and Universal Music Group, have yet to comment on the matter.