Nirvana’s Nevermind baby now says he was dressed as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for photo shoot

(Image credit: DGC)

Spencer Elden, known globally as the infant featured on the iconic cover artwork of Nirvana’s Nevermind album, has amended his lawsuit against the band and photographer Kirk Weddle with the claim that the photographer also shot images of him styled as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

Lodged with the District Court in the Central District of California by Robert Y. Lewis of Marsh Law Firm PLLC in August, Elden’s lawsuit addresses the members of Nirvana, Courtney Love, Weddle, and various record labels, who, the court papers says "knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so," and claims that "the Defendants failed to take reasonable steps to protect Spencer and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and image trafficking."

The new amendment to the lawsuit includes the allegation that Kirk Weddle also shot images of Elden styled to look like Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and references passages from Kurt Cobin’s journals as evidence that Nirvana’s frontman intended the cover image of the album to be sexual in nature,

Elden, now 30, is seeking damages of $150,000 from each of the defendants or unspecified damages to be determined at trial plus an injunction to prohibit all parties "from continuing to engage in the unlawful acts and practices described herein," and a trial by jury.

His suit states: "The permanent harm he has proximately suffered includes but is not limited to extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations, interference with his normal development and educational progress, lifelong loss of income earning capacity, loss of past and future wages, past and future expenses for medical and psychological treatment, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses to be described and proven at trial of this matter.”

The new complaint repeats the claim that Kirk Weddle intended to “trigger a visceral sexual response from the viewer” by activating “Spencer’s ‘gag reflex’ before throwing him underwater in poses highlighting and emphasizing Spencer’s exposed genitals.” 

Elden also says that neither he nor his guardians “ever signed a release authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.