Spencer Elden, who appeared on the Nirvana Nevermind album cover, has lost his lawsuit claiming that the image constituted child sexual abuse. Elden had said that he was unable to consent to the photo being used and sought £130,000 in damages.
Elden was four months old when a family friend took the photo. The family were reportedly paid $200 for the use of the image. Elden’s suit claimed that the “defendants knowingly produced, possessed and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer.”
Judge Olguin dismissed the case, ruling it was past the ten-year child pornography state of limitations.
“Because it is undisputed that the plaintiff did not file his complaint within ten years after he discovered a violation that could form the basis for his [child pornography] claim, the court concludes that his claim is untimely,” Judge Olguin ruled.
Elden first filed a lawsuit in 2021, though that was thrown out after he failed to respond to the defendants motion to dismiss in time. He then refiled this case in January 2022. Following this ruling, he cannot file again, although it is understood that he intends to appeal.
“Spencer’s victimization as a child remains frozen in time,” Elden’s lawyers said in a statement. “His childhood self continues to be invaded, and he will be repeatedly victimized as long as the Nevermind cover continues to be distributed.”
Spencer Elden had recreated the image for the album’s 15th and 25th anniversaries.
“Elden has spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby’,” Nirvana said in their motion to dismiss. “He 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.”