Nirvana Baby Amends ‘Nevermind’ Lawsuit + Cites Disturbing Kurt Cobain Journal Entries
Spencer Elden, the 30-year-old man who appeared on the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind album in a photo taken when he was four months old, has amended his lawsuit against the band, dropping a handful of defendants while bringing disturbing entries from Kurt Cobain's journal to light in an attempt to bolster his child pornography and sexual exploitation case.
The plaintiff also alleges that Kirk Weddle, the photographer who captured a nude Elden in a pool of water for the Nevermind cover art, alternatively dressed the baby to have the appearance of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner at around the same time.
Elden's case is built on the notion that the artwork for the historic 1991 release was intended to be overtly sexual in nature, for which he is seeking a minimum of $150,000 from each defendant for "extreme and permanent emotional distress," amid other reasons.
The latest court filing states (via Rolling Stone) that Weddle meant to "trigger a visceral sexual response from the viewer" and triggered "Spencer’s 'gag reflex' before throwing him underwater in poses highlighting and emphasizing Spencer’s exposed genitals." It is also alleged that "Weddle soon after produced photographs of Spencer dressed up and depicted as Hugh Hefner."
Selections from Cobain's personal journals, which were published in 2002, were also mentioned in the amended lawsuit.
Warning: the quote below is graphic and may be considered offensive to some.
"Undated journals written by Cobain sketch the album cover in a sexual manner, with semen all over it. In several instances, the journals describe Cobain’s twisted vision for the Nevermind album cover, along with his emotional struggles: 'I like to make incisions into the belly of infants then fuck the incision until the child dies.,'" read part of the new filing.
The lawsuit no longer names former Nirvana drummer Chad Channing, Warner Music, Heather Parry and Guy Oseary (previously listed as managers of the Cobain estate) as defendants.
Various entertainment litigators previously weighed in on the merit of Elden's case and, while aspects of the suit were seen as valid, one noted that Elden's history of recreating the cover photo to celebrate anniversary milestones for Nevermind may serve as a hindrance to achieving the verdict he's seeking.
Should the cover need to be changed, Dave Grohl has "many ideas" for an alternate. The recently released 30th anniversary edition of Nevermind retained the original art. Grohl took a jab at Elden in an interview last month: "Listen, he's got a Nevermind tattoo, I don't," he said.