‘Nirvana Baby’ Spencer Elden Is Now Appealing the ‘Nevermind’ Child-Pornography Lawsuit Dismissal

nirvana the batman
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Photo Credit: Jurian Kersten

Three months ago, reports indicated that Spencer Elden, who appeared on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind as a baby, had moved to appeal the dismissal of his child-pornography lawsuit against the band. Now, this latest attempt to keep the controversial action alive is officially in motion.

The specifics of the high-profile appeal just recently came to light in legal filings, and the overarching courtroom confrontation kicked off back in August of 2021. In brief, regarding the multifaceted dispute’s details, Elden posed for the iconic image at the center of the complaint when he was four months old.

Elden’s father, a friend of the photog who shot the Nevermind cover, accepted $200 for the gig and later received a platinum version of the ultra-popular album from Geffen Records. The younger Elden, for his part, went on to recreate the image as an adult and claim in an interview that being the “Nirvana Baby” had “always opened doors” for him.

Needless to say, however, Elden had a change of heart in the leadup to the 30th anniversary of Nevermind, which debuted in 1991 and has moved north of 10 million copies in the States alone. In his firmly worded action, the 31-year-old claimed to have suffered “permanent harm” from the photo, in addition to maintaining that the defendants had “knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography.”

And to compensate for this alleged “unlawful conduct,” Elden demanded “restitution and disgorgement of all profits and unjust enrichment obtained as a result of” the commercially successful album at the heart of the case.

Besides going ahead and releasing the 30th anniversary edition of Nevermind with the original cover, Universal Music Group fired back against the “ludicrous” complaint from the time of its filing until its dismissal with prejudice in September. Along the way, an “intervenor defendant” entered the scene, and Elden’s counsel refiled each time the suit was tossed.

In keeping with this steadfast commitment to the action, Elden and his team are doubling down on the associated allegations in an appeal, as initially noted.

Filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Elden’s appeal argues off the bat that the statute of limitations, contrary to the presiding judge’s ruling, doesn’t bar the complaint, in part because of alleged ongoing harm resulting from the ever-prominent album’s cover.

Building upon the point, 16-year-old Masha’s Law allows alleged child-pornography victims including Elden to pursue monetary damages in adulthood, the plaintiff and his attorneys claimed in asking the appellate court to overturn the “erroneous dismissal.”

At the time of this writing, the defendants – including the surviving members of Nirvana, Courtney Love, and Universal Music Group – didn’t appear to have commented publicly on the appeal.