Judge Fernando M. Olguin dismissed the lawsuit alleging that the album cover for Nirvana’s Nevermind constitutes child pornography. As reported by SPIN, the case was dismissed by Judge Olguin “with leave to amend.”
In August 2021, Spencer Elden, the man who was featured on the iconic album art as a baby, filed a lawsuit alleging that the photograph of himself as a nude infant was child pornography. A lawyer for Nirvana’s estate fired back at Elden in December 2021, stating that the statute of limitations expired in 2011, and Elden had “spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby.’”
Elden’s legal team missed the December 30 deadline to respond to the motion to dismiss the suit, and now they have until January 13. As stated in court documents obtained by SPIN, if Elden’s team makes the deadline, Nirvana’s estate has until January 27 to reply to the refiled suit.
In the original suit, Elden alleged that his legal guardians did not authorize “the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him.” He also alleged that the image led to him being involved in a “sex trafficking venture” where he “was forced to engage in commercial sexual acts while under the age of 18 years old.” He also claimed in the suit that the photograph had a sexual context, making the tot look like a “sex worker grabbing for a dollar bill.”
As mentioned in the band’s response to the suit, Elden had previously spoken positively about being the infant in the iconic image. In 2016, he posed in a recreation of the album cover for its 25th anniversary, and had recreated the photograph for the record’s 10th, 17th, and 20th anniversaries, as reported by BBC. He also has a tattoo of the album title.