Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album cover found not guilty of child pornography

A judge has ruled that the image on the cover of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album is not child pornography

A judge in California (USA) rejected late on Monday, January 3, the lawsuit filed by Spencer Elden. As a four-month-old, Elden appeared on the famous cover of Nirvana’s 1991 Nevermind album. He brought the lawsuit for an alleged case of child pornography.

Lawyers representing Nirvana’s band members, Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney Love, and photographer Kirk Weddle, filed a motion to dismiss the case in December. A deadline of December 30 was fixed for Elden’s legal team to respond, which they did not do.

Judge Fernando M. Olguin determined in a brief that Elden did not present his response within the established time, and so he dismissed the case.

However, the judge was open to amend his decision, and potentially consider the case if the complainant files a new lawsuit within the established period of ten days from the judicial decision. If in the next ten days Elden does not file this new lawsuit, the case will be dismissed definitively, and the plaintiff will not be able to sue again.

In his original complaint, Elden accused Nirvana of intentionally and commercially promoting child pornography, and using the shocking nature of their image to promote themselves and their music.

Elden was seeking compensation for, according to the lawsuit, “damages he has suffered, and will continue to suffer for life”, also claiming that the defendants benefited and continue to benefit from “the sexual exploitation” of Elden.
Among those named in the lawsuit were Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic, who together with the legendary, and late, Kurt Cobain (1967-1994), made up the classic Nirvana line-up.
In their legal documents, Nirvana’s lawyers said that Elden’s arguments lacked merit, adding, “Elden’s claim that the photograph on the Nevermind album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious”. Anyone owning a copy of the record would ‘on Elden’s theory, be guilty of felony possession of child pornography’, they pointed out.

The cover of Nevermind is considered one of the most iconic in rock history, and shows a baby diving in a pool, hunting for a dollar bill.

As a teenager, and as an adult, Elden has jumped back into the pool to recreate that cover multiple times. That was what he did, for example, in 2016, when the album’s 25th anniversary was celebrated. On other occasions, he has shown to the press his distaste for being linked to that image, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at