Spencer Elden, the man who was featured on the album’s artwork when he was a baby, is suing for child sexual exploitation and is looking to be awarded $150,000 in damages, TMZ and Pitchfork report. The lawsuit also lists Geffen Records, Warner Records, and photographer Kirk Weddle.
As you might recall, the iconic album cover features a naked 4-month-old Elden in a swimming pool. In the suit, Elden claims that his legal guardians never signed documents “authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him.”
Elden, who has “Nevermind” tattooed on his chest, also argues in the suit that the the band “reproduced child pornography depicting Spencer knowing and intending that it would be distributed internationally and that they would receive value from such widespread worldwide distribution.” Elden went on to argue that they “failed to take reasonable steps to protect Spencer and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and image trafficking” and as a result he “has suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages.”
In addition to the $150,000, the suit requests that “attorney’s fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred” also be covered.
“It’s fucked up,” Elden previously said in a 2016 interview with GQ Australia. “I’m pissed off about it, to be honest.” Elsewhere in the same interview Elden compared the experience of being featured on the album’s cover to “that dream where you go to school without your clothes on.”