Nirvana Respond To Nevermind Baby’s Lawsuit, Say Case Is “Not Serious” And Filed Too Late
While there’s been some celebration surrounding Nevermind‘s 30th anniversary, there’s also been some controversy. Spencer Elden — the man who has long identified himself as the baby seen on Nevermind‘s cover, and who has re-created the image several times over the years — filed a lawsuit against Nirvana’s individual surviving members, Kurt Cobain’s estate, photographer Kirk Weddle, and the labels involved in releasing the album, alleging that the Nevermind cover is child pornography. Elden is seeking $150,000 from each party named in the lawsuit.
Previously, in October, Dave Grohl acknowledged the lawsuit and suggested further reissues of Nevermind could feature a different cover. Now, as Billboard reports, the band is responding to the lawsuit in a more official capacity, issuing a statement claiming the case is “not serious” and that it was filed way past the statute of limitations expiring. The fact that Elden had previously and repeatedly embraced the image could also factor into the band’s argument against the suit.
“Elden has spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby,'” the band wrote. Other details the band cited included those re-enactments of the photo and the fact that Elden has the name Nevermind tattooed on his chest. As for the statute of limitations, Elden filing a federal child pornography lawsuit would only apply within 10 years after him “reasonably” discovering the problem, with the band pointing out that would mean he’d only discovered it in 2011. They continued:
But the Nevermind cover photograph was taken in 1991. It was world-famous by no later than 1992. Long before 2011, as Elden has pled, Elden knew about the photograph, and knew that he (and not someone else) was the baby in the photograph. He has been fully aware of the facts of both the supposed “violation” and “injury” for decades.
As Billboard points out, this could just be the beginning of Nirvana’s response, with them preparing to argue the image does not amount to child pornography if the case continues.
“Elden’s claim that the photograph on the Nevermind album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious,” the band said. “A brief examination of the photograph, or Elden’s own conduct (not to mention the photograph’s presence in the homes of millions of Americans who, on Elden’s theory, are guilty of felony possession of child pornography) makes that clear.”