After Hiccup, 'Nirvana Baby' Is Still Suing

Spencer Elden meets judge's deadline to file amended lawsuit
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2022 10:38 AM CST
Updated Jan 14, 2022 1:56 AM CST
Lawsuit of 'Nirvana Baby' Dismissed—for Now
The box set cover image of the deluxe edition of Nirvana's "Nevermind" is seen here.   (AP Photo/Geffen)

(Newser) Update: The "Nevermind baby," now a 30-year-old man, is still suing Nirvana over the iconic album cover. Spencer Elden's complaint was dismissed earlier this month on a technicality, and late Wednesday Elden's legal team filed an amended complaint to reinstate the claims, Rolling Stone reports. The new filing drops a sex trafficking claim, but keeps the other claims intact, accusing the band of marketing child porn and earning millions in the process. It also includes a statement from an art director for the cover whose original mock-up does show a naked baby, but does not show genitalia. Our original story from Jan. 4 follows:

The back-and-forth between Spencer Elden, the guy who as a baby appeared on the cover art for Nirvana's Nevermind album, and the band's estate continues. Elden, now 30, last August sued, among others, surviving band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic; the estate of late frontman Kurt Cobain; and Kirk Weddle, the family friend who took the photo of a 4-month-old Elden in 1991. Elden claims the image amounts to child porn and has caused him "extreme and permanent emotional distress," but on Monday, Judge Fernando M. Olguin of US District Court for the Central District of California dismissed Elden's complaint, reports Spin.

Nirvana's legal team had argued that Elden's suit was hogwash, as he'd "spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed 'Nirvana Baby,'" including by re-creating the famous image and even getting a tattoo of the album's name on his chest, reports the Guardian. Nirvana's attorneys say Elden also autographed copies of the album cover that went up on eBay and used his fame "to try to pick up women," per the BBC, which has a photo of one of Elden's photo re-creations.

Judge Olguin didn't dismiss the complaint on those merits, however. Rather, the dismissal came due to a technicality: Elden's team didn't file an opposition response to the Nirvana estate's request to dismiss the case in time; Elden's lawyers had had until Thursday to do so. However, Olguin has given Elden an opening to file a second complaint by Jan. 13, which would then give Nirvana's estate until Jan. 27 to reply to that complaint. If Elden's team doesn't refile by that Jan. 13 deadline, he's out of luck for good. (Read more Nirvana stories.)

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