Spencer Elden filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles court against the group on Tuesday, August 24, alleging that the image of himself, as a four-month-old minor, on the album cover constituted pornography juvenile.
The 1991 cover image shows Elden in a swimming pool searching for a dollar bill, with his genitals exposed.
Elden said neither he nor his legal guardians had signed a release authorizing the use of “any images of Spencer or his portrait,” the lawsuit said, a copy of which was uploaded by Fork.
The lawsuit alleged that Cobain had agreed to remove Spencer’s image “with a sticker strategically placed on Spencer’s genitals.” He claimed Cobain agreed to the sticker including the text “If you are offended by this you must be a closet pedophile.”
Elden claimed that “his true identity and legal name are forever linked to the commercial sexual exploitation he suffered as a minor which has been distributed and sold around the world from his childhood to the present day.” .
The 15 defendants “knowingly produced, possessed and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in return for it,” Spencer’s lawsuit said.
“Despite this knowledge, the defendants failed to take reasonable steps to protect Spencer and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and trafficking in images. “
He alleged that photographer Kirk Weddle activated Spencer’s “gag reflex” before throwing him underwater.
“To make sure the album cover would trigger a visceral sexual response from the viewer, [photographer Kirk] Weddle activated Spencer’s “gag reflex” before throwing him underwater in poses highlighting and emphasizing Spencer’s exposed genitals, “the costume said.
He also mentions that “Cobain chose the image depicting Spencer – as a sex worker – grabbing a dollar bill that hangs on a hook in front of his naked body with his penis explicitly displayed,” the trial.
The group used “child pornography depicting Spencer as an essential part of a record promotion program commonly used in the music industry to gain attention, in which album covers posed children in such a way. sexually provocative to gain notoriety, increase sales and gain media attention, and critics, ”the lawsuit said.
As a result, Elden “has suffered and will continue to suffer damage for life,” he said.
The plaintiff seeks either $ 150,000 (£ 109,329) from each of the 15 defendants, or unspecified damages to be determined at trial.
Geffen Records, which released the album 30 years ago, has sold over 30 million copies of no matter worldwide.
The independent has contacted Cobain and Elden’s estate for comment.