Spencer Elden has sued the band for "knowingly produc(ing) commercial child pornography."
Thirty years after Spencer Elden, as a baby, became the face of Nirvana's hugely popular Nevermind album, the L.A. artist is suing "the estate of Kurt Cobain, the musician’s former bandmates, David Grohl and Krist Novoselic, and Mr. Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, among other parties," according to The New York Times." Elden is seeking $150,000 from each of the 15 people and companies named in the complaint," Maria Cramer writes for the The New York Times, "including Kirk Weddle, the photographer who took the picture."
Elden's lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in California, claims that “Defendants knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so."
According to Mary Graw Leary, a professor at the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America, "Nudity of a child alone is not the definition of pornography." But, Cramer clarifies, "there are factors under federal law that allow a judge or a jury to determine whether a photo of a minor 'constitutes a lascivious exhibition of the genitals,' including if they were the focal point of a photo."
As Maggie Mabie, one of his lawyers, told The New York Times, “He hasn’t met anyone who hasn’t seen his genitalia. It's a constant reminder that he has no privacy. His privacy is worthless to the world.” And, as Cramer points out, Elden told GQ Australia, “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."
Crucial to the case is his lawyers' assertion that Elden's "parents never authorized consent for how the images would be used." Mabie added, “Mr. Elden never consented to the use of this image or the display of these images. Even though he recreated the images later on in life, he was clothed and he was an adult and these were very different circumstances.”
The filed complaint drives it home, as reported by CBSN Los Angeles. Elden's “identity and legal name are forever tied to the commercial sexual exploitation he experienced as a minor which has been distributed and sold worldwide from the time he was a baby to the present day."
This is an interesting and unique case—what are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments.