At the moment, Spencer Elden, who is known for appearing on the iconic album cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind as a baby, is suing the band over claims of child pornography, as the image shows his genitalia. Elden has had his share of detractors since the lawsuit was first revealed, including Chris Cuomo, Bill Maher, and even Dave Grohl. Now, Nirvana has offered its first formal response to the lawsuit.
As Billboard reports, Nirvana claims the lawsuit was filed well after the statute of limitations; Federal child pornography law has a 10-year statute of limitations, starting when the alleged victim “reasonably discovers” either the violation itself or the harm from it. Nirvana’s statement says, “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.”
The statement also says that Elden “has spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby,'” noting that he has “re-enacted the photograph in exchange for a fee” multiple times, that he has the name of the album tattooed on his chest, and that he has “used the connection to try to pick up women,” the latter point based on an interview in which Elden recounted a related story.
The band ultimately dismissed the seriousness of Elden’s claim, saying, “Elden’s claim that the photograph on the Nevermind album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious. 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.”