The Nirvana baby is headed back to court

Nirvana. Photo by Anton Corbijn.


Spencer Eldin, the man who famously appears on the cover of Nirvana‘s album Nevermind as a naked infant chasing a dollar underwater, has seen his child sexual exploitation lawsuit against the band revived by an appeals court. The United States 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals this week officially reversed last year’s dismissal of the case, Law360 reports.

In the new decision, U.S. Circuit Judge Sandra S. Ikuta said that the reason for the case’s previous dismissal — on statute of limitation laws — did not hold due to the ongoing frequency of the album cover’s reproduction.

“Now an adult, [Spencer] Elden argues that the continued use of this photo causes ongoing personal injuries,” Judge Ikuta wrote in the decision. “We hold that, because each republication of child pornography may constitute a new personal injury, Elden’s complaint alleging republication of the album cover within the ten years preceding his action is not barred by the statute of limitations.”

Eldin filed his lawsuit in 2021 against the band’s surviving members, Dave Grohl and Krist Noveselic, as defendants, along with Kurt Cobain’s estate, the cover’s photographer Kirk Weddle, and the labels involved in Nevermind‘s release. He has recreated the album cover at various times throughout his life, including in 2016, the same year he began to express dismay with the cover.

“Recently I’ve been thinking,” Eldin told GQ, “‘What if I wasn’t O.K. with my freaking penis being shown to everybody?’
I didn’t really have a choice.” In a statement issued in 2021 after news of the lawsuit broke, Eldin said, “Nirvana exploited me when I was a baby to sell their music, but there is a person behind every image. I’m just asking the band to do what they should have done 30 years ago and redact my genitals from the image out of respect for my privacy.”