Spencer Elden, whose parents allowed him to be photographed nude in a swimming pool for the album cover of Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” is suing former band members for child pornography and depicting his infant self as a “sex worker” by dangling a dollar bill in front of him. Elden has recreated the pose numerous times—albeit always with swim trunks. He’s asking each of the defendants for at least $150,000 in damages. Those defendants include record companies, surviving band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain’s wife and executor of his will, Courtney Love; Cobain’s estate managers Guy Oseary and Heather Parry along with photographer Kirk Weddle and album art director Robert Fisher.
“Defendants intentionally commercially marketed Spencer’s child pornography and leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music at his expense,” the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court’s central district of California and quoted by several media outlets, claims. “Defendants used child pornography depicting Spencer as an essential element of a record promotion scheme commonly utilized in the music industry to get attention, wherein album covers posed children in a sexually provocative manner to gain notoriety, drive sales, and garner media attention, and critical reviews.” Eden’s father said in a 2008 interview with NPR that he was paid $200 by his photographer friend Weddle for the shot that became an iconic piece of rock history.