Back in August, it was revealed that Spencer Elden, the infant cover model from Nirvana’s massive album Nevermind, was suing the remaining band members for child pornography and sexual exploitation, claiming that his appearance on the record sleeve had caused him considerable suffering (even though he recreated it several times in the press). Elden later went on to include some of Kurt Cobain’s death metal-ish journal entries into the mix, leading to Nirvana filing a motion to dismiss the suit.
Now, it appears that a U.S. judge has done just that. As reported by Louder, Fernando M. Olguin, a Judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California, has dismissed the case. In a ruling on January 3rd, Olguin rejected the lawsuit “with leave to amend,” which means that the plaintiff (in this case Elden) has an opportunity to amend their suit in an attempt to state a cause of action.
We’ll have to see how this story unfolds, but Judge Olguin’s ruling definitely sides with Nirvana’s unequivocal motion to dismiss, which claims that Elden “has reenacted the photograph in exchange for a fee, many times; he has had the album title ‘Nevermind’ tattooed across his chest; he has appeared on a talk show wearing a self-parodying, nude-colored onesie; he has autographed copies of the album cover for sale on eBay; and he has used the connection to try to pick up women.
“…the Nevermind cover photograph was taken in 1991. It was world-famous by no later than 1992. Long before 2011, as Elden has pled, Elden knew about the photograph, and knew that he (and not someone else) was the baby in the photograph. He has been fully aware of the facts of both the supposed ‘violation’ and ‘injury’ for decades.”
But perhaps the best and most accurate response was from former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who, when asked about Elden, responded, “Listen, he’s got a Nevermind tattoo. I don’t.”
Words by Chris Krovatin