Nirvana’s “Nevermind” Baby Lawsuit Has Been Dismissed

Spencer Elden will have until Jan. 13 to refile a complaint about the use of his image

Nirvana artifacts are seen at the opening of "In Bloom: The Nirvana Exhibition," marking the 20th Anniversary of the release of Nirvana's "Nevermind" album, at the Loading Bay Gallery on September 13, 2011 in London, England.
Nirvana artifacts, including the "Nevermind" album cover, at "In Bloom: The Nirvana Exhibition"
Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Back in August, Spencer Elden — the man best known as “the Nirvana Baby” thanks to the iconic image of him as an infant that appears on the cover of the band’s Nevermind album — filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming the album artwork is “child pornography” and asserting that his legal guardians never consented to his naked genitalia appearing on the cover. Now, as Spin reports, a judge has dismissed the lawsuit.

However, things aren’t necessarily over just yet. The lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Fernando M. Olguin on Monday “with leave to amend.” Elden’s legal team had until Dec. 30 to file an opposition to the Nirvana estate’s request to dismiss the case, and they missed that deadline. Now Elden’s team has until Jan. 13 to refile a second complaint. If they miss that new deadline, he won’t have another opportunity to refile, but if they do, the Nirvana estate has until Jan. 27 to respond to the refiled suit.

“Elden’s claim that the photograph on the Nevermind album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious,” the Nirvana estate said in a statement. “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.”

Elden has reenacted the iconic underwater photo of him that appears on the Nevermind cover several times in his life, most recently in 2016 to celebrate the album’s 25th anniversary. He also has the word “Nevermind” tattooed across his chest. Recently, however, he appears to have had a change of heart, telling Australian GQ, “It’s fucked up. I’m pissed off about it, to be honest. Recently I’ve been thinking, ‘What if I wasn’t OK with my freaking penis being shown to everybody?’ I didn’t really have a choice.”

Whether or not he’ll choose to refile his lawsuit by Jan. 13 remains to be seen.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.