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'Nevermind' baby refiles lawsuit against Nirvana

Agence France-Presse
'Nevermind' baby refiles lawsuit against Nirvana
Part of Nirvana's "Nevermind" album cover released in 1991.
Kirk Weddle / DGC, Butch Vig, Nirvana

LOS ANGELES, United States — The man who as a baby was photographed naked for the cover of Nirvana's album "Nevermind" has filed a new lawsuit accusing the band of sexual exploitation, after his previous case was dismissed.

Now 30 years old, Spencer Elden first filed a complaint in August 2021, in which he sought $150,000 in damages from each of 15 defendants -- including surviving former members of the band, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as the estate of the late lead singer Kurt Cobain, and the photographer, Kirk Weddle.

In the original court filing, his legal team argued that neither Elden nor his legal guardians "signed a release authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him."

Under US federal law, victims of child sexual abuse can sue whoever produces, distributes, or possesses images of them for damages and interest.

On January 3, a judge dismissed Elden's case, as his legal team had failed to respond in time to a request submitted by Nirvana's lawyers to dismiss.

Elden was given 10 days to file a new case, which he did on Wednesday.

In 1991, when he was four months old, Elden was photographed naked in a swimming pool reaching for a dollar bill on a fish hook, an image that has become one of the most iconic covers of all time.

The album went on to sell 30 million copies, with songs such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" becoming cultural touchstones of American pop music.

In their December motion, Nirvana's lawyers argued the statute of limitations had expired more than a decade ago, and that Elden's claim that the photo constituted child pornography was "not serious."

They noted that Elden had recreated the photo multiple times, for a fee, including for the album's 25th anniversary.

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