The United States Justice dismissed the lawsuit of the man who, in 1991, at the age of 4 months, appeared naked on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album. The band was accused of child pornography.
On Friday, Los Angeles Judge Fernando Olguin ruled that the man, Spencer Elden, took too long to claim Nirvana sexually exploited him. He only entered the suit over 10 years after learning about the cover’s existence.
In addition to the band, the other defendants included Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, the widow of late singer Kurt Cobain Courtney Love, record labels and photographer Kirk Weddle.
Nirvana album cover as a baby sues the band for sexual exploitation
Weddle took the photo in 1991 at the Pasadena Aquatic Center in California. The image shows Elden swimming naked towards a dollar bill pierced with a hook.
Elden was interviewed in 2003, at age 12, by “Rolling Stone” magazine. At the time, he said he would “probably make some money out of it” (more than 30 million copies of Nevermind were sold). In 2016, he even participated in a photo shoot to recreate the image as an adult with Nevermind tattooed on his chest.
He claimed in his lawsuit, which began in August 2021, that he complied with the statute of limitations because his impairments, including emotional distress, loss of income capacity and “loss of enjoyment of life” continued into adulthood.
The judge rejected that argument, saying that by that logic Elden could sue Nirvana indefinitely.
“Plaintiff does not allege that he knew of a violation that occurred when he was a minor or an injury that forms the basis of the claim within ten years of filing this action,” Olguin wrote.
Elden has filed three versions of his complaint, but now, with this ruling by Judge Olguin, he can’t file any further actions.
Elden’s attorney did not respond to requests for an interview.