Nirvana album cover: Naked ‘Nevermind’ baby loses after judge dismisses child pornography complaint

Spencer Elden, 31, who appeared naked on the album cover as a baby, is suing the band for alleged “commercial child sexual exploitation.”

However, her lawsuit was dismissed Friday when a judge ruled that Elden filed her complaint after the 10-year statute of limitations had expired.

“Accordingly, the plaintiff’s action is dismissed without leave to amend,” said Fernando M. Olguin, United States District Judge for the Central District of California, in a decision obtained by CNN.

Elden’s attorney told CNN he plans to appeal the dismissal.

The cover of “Nevermind,” in which baby Elden appears, swimming underwater, his eyes fixed on a dollar bill, has become one of the most enduring images in rock music.

In the original complaint, filed on August 24, 2021, Elden’s lawyers said the photo was pornographic and that he suffered “lifelong harm” as a result of his involvement.

Elden listed the band’s surviving members, the executor of lead singer Kurt Cobain’s estate, and various record labels as defendants.

After the complaint was dismissed, the second amended complaint sought damages for what Elden called “lifetime loss of earning capacity, past and future lost wages, past and future medical and psychological expenses treatment, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses. to be described and proved at the trial of this matter.”

Naked 'Nevermind' baby sues Nirvana for 'child pornography'

The lawsuit alleges that Elden was sexually assaulted because the image of the naked baby grabbing the dollar bill made the baby look like “a sex worker.”

Elden recreated the image during his adulthood, but he also suggested in interviews that he was uncomfortable about the popularity of the album cover.

In 2007, she told the UK’s Sunday Times that she found it “terrifying that so many people saw me naked … I felt like I was the biggest porn star in the world.” The following year she told CNN that she was often asked to attend events as the “Nirvana baby.”

“Nevermind” and its lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” sold millions of copies and helped popularize grunge music in the United States. Both its content and artwork were heralded as seminal rock works, but three years after its release, Nirvana’s frontman, Kurt Cobain, died by suicide in Seattle and the remaining members subsequently disbanded.

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Elden told CNN in 2008: “Rumor had Cobain’s original concept wanting to show a mother giving birth underwater.” Elden added: “But the compromise is to have a baby swimming underwater. Or so I’m told.”

The lawsuit alleges that Elden “has and will continue to suffer personal injury from the Defendants’ possession, transportation, reproduction, advertisement, promotion, presentation, distribution, distribution, and acquisition of child pornography depicting him. “

Cobain’s wife, singer Courtney Love, is listed in the lawsuit as executor of Cobain’s estate, along with others including photographer Kirk Weddle and record labels Universal Music Group, MCA Records and Geffen Records. CNN has reached out to these parties for comment.

CNN’s Rob Picheta contributed to this report.