Spencer Elden, now 30 years old, is suing Kurt Cobain’s estate for the image the used of him on their 1991 album ‘Nevermind’, alleging it is child pornography and sexual exploitation.
The lawsuit dated August 24 has been uploaded by Pitchfork and alleges that neither he nor his legal guardians consented to the image or “any images of Spencer or of his likeness”.
The image depicts a fourth month old Elden in a pool with his genitalia exposed reaching for a dollar bill.
The lawsuit has alleged that Cobain agreed to alter the image, covering up his genitals with a sticker that read, “If you’re offended by this, you must be a closet paedophile”.
The lawsuit further alleges Cobain chose the image of him reaching for a dollar bill “like a sex worker”. It also mentions the photographer of the image, Kirk Weddle, and a quote he made in TIME magazine: “[i]t was a great concept—a baby underwater, unable to breathe, going after money on a fishhook.”
It further claims Weddle’s child pornography became the image associated with Nirvana.
“Spencer’s true identity and legal name are forever tied to the 7 commercial sexual exploitation he experienced as a minor which has been 8 distributed and sold worldwide from the time he was a baby to the present day” the lawsuit alleges.
It continues: “Spencer has been and will continue to suffer personal injury by the 2 distribution and possession of child pornography depicting him by persons 3 including the Defendants.
“The permanent harm he has proximately suffered 4 includes but is not limited to extreme and permanent emotional distress with 5 physical manifestations, interference with his normal development and educational 6 progress, lifelong loss of income earning capacity, loss of past and future wages, 7 past and future expenses for medical and psychological treatment, loss of 8 enjoyment of life, and other losses to be described and proven at trial of this matter.”
Elden is seeking $150,000 from 15 defendants, or damages to be determined at trial.
Nevermind was released in 1991 and sold over 30 million copies worldwide.