In August, Elden, who appeared on the cover of the band’s album Nevermind when he was four months old, sued Kurt Cobain’s estate alleging child pornography and sexual exploitation.
The 1991 cover image shows Elden in a swimming pool reaching for a dollar bill with his genitals exposed. Elden has claimed that neither he nor his legal guardians signed a release authorising the use of “any images of Spencer or of his likeness”.
In a motion filed on Wednesday (24 December), lawyers representing Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Courtney Love (as executor of the Kurt Cobain estate), photographer Kirk Weddle and UMG Recordings called for the case to be dismissed on 20 January 2022.
Claiming that Elden had only raised his objections to the photo recently, they said that he had “spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby’”, including recreating the photo for money and having Nevermind tattooed on his chest.
They also claimed that he was selling signed copies of the album on eBay and had used it as a line to pick up women.
“Elden’s claim that the photograph on the Nevermind album cover is ‘child pornography’ is, on its face, not serious. A brief examination of the photograph, or Elden’s own conduct (not to mention the photograph’s presence in the homes of millions of Americans who, on Elden’s theory, are guilty of felony possession of child pornography) makes that clear,” they said.
They added that Elden’s lawsuit came after the 10-year statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit involving alleged child pornography and that it could also be dismissed on these grounds.
Responding to Variety, Elden’s lawyers said: “In 1991, Nirvana exploited Spencer’s inability to consent as an infant, and today, the band and Universal Music Group (UMG) continue to prioritise profits over our client Spencer Elden’s right to consent, to have privacy, and to feel dignity.
“Nirvana and UMG’s motion to dismiss focuses on their past conduct and ignores their ongoing distribution, especially with the 30-year Nevermind anniversary and profit margins.”