Next month marks the official 30th anniversary of Nirvana‘s seminal grunge album Nevermind, but the surviving members of the band may not be in a mood to celebrate. Spencer Elden, who was photographed naked as a baby for the album’s iconic cover art, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing Nirvana and Geffen Records of profiting from child pornography of him.
Per legal precedent, Elden is asking for $150,000 in damages from each defendant, a list that includes former Nirvana members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Chad Channing; Kurt Cobain‘s widow Courtney Love and two other managers of his estate; photographer Kirk Weddle and art director Robert Fisher; plus Geffen Records, Warner Records, and Universal Music Group. The lawsuit also requests a trial by jury.
The provocative imagery of Nevermind‘s cover made it instantly iconic, as recognizable as the opening notes of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Back in 1992, EW reported out the process of creating the cover. Fisher told EW that the seed of the idea came from Cobain, who had seen a documentary on babies being born underwater and “thought the image would make a cool cover. That vision was a bit too graphic, so we went with the swimming baby instead.” Weddle cast five babies in total for the shoot at the Pasadena Aquatic Center, but Spencer is the one who reacted best to being thrown in the pool and having an assistant blow a puff of air in his face to wrinkle his nose.