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​Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ lawsuit “falls on its face” as band ask for case dismissal

Stephen Elden’s child exploitation claim has been shut down by lawyers

  • Gemma Ross
  • 27 December 2021
​Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ lawsuit “falls on its face” as band ask for case dismissal

Nirvana have filed for the dismissal of an ongoing lawsuit stacked against them claiming that the band had previously exploited Stephen Elden, the baby on Nirvana’s 1991 ‘Nevermind’ album cover.

Elden first filed the suit in August where he claimed that the band had used his picture without permission, one which featured him entirely naked on the record’s cover.

The case was picked up again in November with new amends, this time seeing Elden ask for $150,000 in damages and adding details from Kurt Cobain’s journals describing imagined child sexual abuse.

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“Defendants knowingly produced, possessed and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer,” the lawsuit stated.

Now, remaining members of Nirvana, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, are fighting the case alongside Kurt Cobain’s estate holder Courtney Love and the album art photographer, Kirk Weddle.

In a recent hearing, the defendant’s lawyers argued that the case “falls on its face”, and should no longer be valid due to the length of time since the album’s release.

Lawyers asserted that the case was “not serious”, as Nirvana asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed altogether.

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“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,” the lawyers argued.

Elden, who claims to be a victim of child exploitation, said that the album art has lessened his “enjoyment of life”, and given him “extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations”.

Lawyers counteracted this claim by arguing that Elden had willingly recreated the artwork for the album’s 15th and 25th anniversaries, and used his tie to the band as a claim to fame for the past three decades.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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