Spencer Elden He filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles court against the band on Tuesday (August 24) alleging that a picture of himself, when he was a four-month-old minor, on the album cover constituted child pornography.
This 1991 cover photo shows Elden in a swimming pool asking for a dollar bill, his genitals exposed.
The lawsuit alleged that Cobain agreed to redact Spencer’s image “with a sticker strategically placed on Spencer’s genitals.” She claimed that Cobain agreed that the poster should contain the text “If you’re offended by this, you must be a kid enthusiast in the wardrobe.”
Elden claimed that his “real identity and legal name are forever linked to the commercial sexual exploitation of which he was subjected as a minor and which has been distributed and sold around the world since he was an infant to the present day”.
Spencer’s suit said the 15 defendants “willfully produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, knowingly obtaining value in exchange for doing so.”
“Despite this knowledge, the defendants failed to take reasonable steps to protect Spencer and prevent the spread of sexual exploitation and photo trafficking.”
Photographer Kirk Weddell allegedly activated Spencer’s “gag reflex” before throwing him underwater.
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To ensure that the album cover will elicit a deep 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 lawsuit also stated that “Cobain chose the photograph depicting Spencer – as a sex worker – holding a dollar bill hung from a hook in front of his naked body with his penis clearly displayed.”
The band used “child pornography depicting Spencer as a key element of a record promotion scheme commonly used in the music industry to gain attention, with album covers depicting children in a sexually provocative manner to gain fame, increase sales, gain media attention, and critical reviews,” the lawsuit said. .
As a result, she said, “Elden has suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damage.”
The plaintiff is seeking either $150,000 (£109,329) from each of the 15 defendants or unspecified damages to be determined at trial.
Geffen Records, who released the album 30 years ago, has sold more than 30 million copies of Do not care across the world.
independent Contact Cobain Walden Property for comment.