Spencer Elden may very well be the most famous naked baby the world has ever seen.

A photo of him as an infant – submerged in water and seemingly chasing a dollar bill dangling from a fish hook – became the iconic cover of Nirvana’s 1991 release “Nevermind,” considered one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

Three decades later, Elden is now claiming the album cover is child pornography.

Elden, who’s 30, on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court against a host of defendants tied to the album, alleging the cover is “sexual exploitation” that will hurt him – emotionally and physically – for the rest of his life.

Those defendants include Nirvana LLC, several of its members, the estate of frontman Kurt Cobain, the designer and photographer involved in creating the cover, and the record label that released the album. None of them responded to emails sent from The Washington Post late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

The suit alleges that all were involved in making child pornography and benefited from “the sex-trafficking venture and Spencer’s exploitation” that was the distribution of “Nevermind.”

“(They) used child pornography depicting Spencer … in a sexually provocative manner to gain notoriety, drive sales, and garner media attention,” the lawsuit states. Elden is represented by Robert Y. Lewis, a New York-based attorney.

Elden’s legal guardians did not sign a release authorizing Nirvana or the band’s record label to use the image of Elden “and certainly not of commercial child pornography,” the suit claims. Elden said he has never received any financial compensation for the cover, which Billboard last year ranked No. 7 on its list of “The 50 Greatest Album Covers of All Time.”

Cobain’s original idea for the cover of “Nevermind” was a baby being born underwater, but designer Robert Fisher nixed it as infeasible, according to an undated article written for Milanote, a company that offers an online organization tool.

While ruling out much of Cobain’s idea, Fisher kept the germ of having a baby underwater.

“So Kurt came up with the idea of adding a fishhook to make it more menacing,” Fisher said for the Milanote article, which Elden cites in his lawsuit.


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