Baby from cover of Nirvana's 'Nevermind' sues band claiming image was child pornography

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The naked baby photographed on Nirvana’s breakthrough album “Nevermind” is now accusing the band of being child pornographers, claiming they told him to “Come As You Are” without consent.

Spencer Eldon, now 30, filed a lawsuit against Kurt Cobain’s estate and the band’s surviving members, saying the grunge pioneers violated federal child pornography statutes and sexually exploited him.

Eldon also said he has suffered “lifelong damage” from having his naked body plastered on the triple-diamond selling album, and claims neither he nor his guardians consented to the naked photoshoot, according to the federal suit.

The band, photographer, and record labels “intentionally marketed Spencer’s child pornography and leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music at his expense,” the suit alleges.

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The man who was photographed as a baby on the cover of Nirvana's ‘Nevermind’ album is now accusing the band of child pornography. 

The man who was photographed as a baby on the cover of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album is now accusing the band of child pornography. 
(DGC Records/John Chapple)

The plaintiff, who was four months old at the time of the 1991 underwater photoshoot, also claims he was forced to engage in “commercial sex acts,” and that the band went back on an alleged promise to conceal his genitals on the album cover.

“The permanent harm he has proximately suffered includes but is not limited to extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations, interference with his normal development and educational progress, lifelong loss of income earning capacity, loss of past and future wages, past and future expenses for medical and psychological treatment, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses to be described and proven at trial of this matter,” the document read.

In 2016, 25-year-old Eldon recreated the cover fully clothed to pay homage to the hit record, which blasted indie rock to the mainstream with hits like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Lithium.”

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“I said to the photographer, ‘Let’s do it naked.’ But he thought that would be weird, so I wore my swim shorts,” Elden said of the shoot at the time.

American singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain (1967 - 1994), performs with his group Nirvana at a taping of the television program 'MTV Unplugged,' New York, New York, Novemeber 18, 1993. 

American singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain (1967 – 1994), performs with his group Nirvana at a taping of the television program ‘MTV Unplugged,’ New York, New York, Novemeber 18, 1993. 
(Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

“The anniversary means something to me. It’s strange that I did this for five minutes when I was 4 months old and it became this really iconic image.”

The infant’s family was only paid $200 for the 15-second plunge in the pool, which only happened because Elden’s dad was a friend of the photographer, according to a 2008 NPR report.

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Even though he seemed excited about the reenactment in 2016, days earlier the LA-based artist told Australia GQ he wished the band had stayed away.

“I’m pissed off about it, to be honest … I’ve been going through it my whole life. But 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.”

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Eldon’s suit seeks damages and an injunction to seek the band from profiting from the hit album.

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