The man who appeared as a baby on the iconic cover of Nirvana’s album Nevermind failed to respond to a motion to dismiss the suit.
After filing a lawsuit against Nirvana for apparently exploiting his likeness, Spencer Elden appears to have said never mind to it all. Elden failed to meet the deadline to respond to the band’s motion to dismiss a suit in which Elden claimed that the iconic cover of Nirvana’s album Nevermind, which features him as a naked 4-month old infant in a swimming pool, constituted child pornography, leading the California judge presiding over the case to indeed toss out the lawsuit.
Elden first sued the band in August, predicating his case on the dollar bill on the cover that was digitally inserted. The image looks as if Elden’s infant self is swimming toward a bill attached to a fish hook — a representation that, he claimed, frames him as a “sex worker.” The suit was looking for $150,000 from Nirvana’s surviving members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, along with Courtney Love, the album cover’s photographer and art director, the managers of Kurt Cobain’s estate, and the record companies involved with Nevermind. The original shoot itself paid Elden’s parents $200 and reportedly lasted some 15 seconds.
The suit came as somewhat of a surprise, as Elden, now 30, had previously appeared to relish in his association with the record that turned Nirvana into a national sensation. He has had the name of the album tattooed to his chest and also re-enacted the photo multiple times, including for the 25th anniversary of the album. “The anniversary means something to me,” he said to the New York Post, who organized the recreated image in 2016. “It’s strange that I did this for five minutes when I was four months old and it became this really iconic image. It’s cool but weird to be part of something so important that I don’t even remember.”
Yet, that same year, he also told Time: “It’s hard not to get upset when you hear how much money was involved. [When] I go to a baseball game and think about it: ‘Man, everybody at this baseball game has probably seen my little baby penis,’ I feel like I got part of my human rights revoked.” Elden still has a chance to refile the case by January 13.