Nude Baby on Nirvana Nevermind Album Grows up and Sues Band for Sexploitation - Granite Grok

Nude Baby on Nirvana Nevermind Album Grows up and Sues Band for Sexploitation

Spencer Elden - Nirvana Nevermind Album Art

Nirvana’s Nevermind has a naked baby in a pool chasing the all-powerful dollar, and now the adult that was this child is fulfilling the prophecy.

I own a copy of Nirvana’s Nevermind. The CD, actually. And I can’t say I paid too much attention to the cover. When Album meant LP, the cover was a thing. Many an hour of sober contemplation – while not entirely sober – staring at album cover art. But it has weighed heavy on the mind and life of Spencer Elden. He has filed a suit claiming the cover violated, among other things, child pornography laws.


In the suit, Elden alleges that his “identity and legal name are forever tied to the commercial sexual exploitation he experienced as a minor which has been distributed and sold worldwide from the time he was a baby to the present day.”

Defendants, the suit adds, “knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so. … Despite this knowledge, defendants failed to take reasonable steps to protect Spencer and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and image trafficking.”


The ‘victim’ “is seeking damages of either $150,000 from each of the 17 defendants named in the suit, or unspecified damages to be determined at a trial.”

On what grounds?


“The permanent harm [Elden] has proximately suffered includes but is not limited to extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations, interference with his normal development and educational progress, lifelong loss of income earning capacity, loss of past and future wages, past and future expenses for medical and psychological treatment, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses to be described and proven at trial of this matter,” a portion of the suit adds of Elden’s unwanted exposure.


I can’t say one way or the other if he has standing or a court would side with his assumptions. The artwork is 30-years old this year. I know nothing else about Elden or if the law at the time is on his side.

My gut feeling tells me Elden is just fishing for a payday, and his lawyer will negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Whether he deserves that or not depends on how many witnesses the Defendants can round up who will swear under oath that Spencer has, for years, bragged to anyone who would listen that he’s famous (despite the expected jokes about the size of his “turtle”).

On the other hand, Elden may have an equally distinguished parade of friends, family, and “experts” who can detail legitimate emotional struggles over the knowledge that millions of people have seen his “wee-wee.”

It’s not up to me to decide, but I can imagine something of a  Streisand effect. People alerted to the predicament will now take an extra moment to look and go, oh yeah, naked baby chasing a dollar.

As I said, I never pay too much attention to CD art except to make sure I have the one I’ve been searching for (when I do, which is not that often in the digital music age).

That aside, we should expect an out-of-court settlement and no formal child trafficking or pornography charges or any admission to the same.

That’s my take; let’s see how well it ages.