Thirty years ago today (September 24th), Nirvana changed the shape of rock to come with their magnum opus, Nevermind, which boasted one of the most iconic album covers of all time. The 1991 grunge landmark is getting an expansive reissue for the occasion, but Spencer Elden — who posed as the swimming naked baby that graces Nevermind‘s cover — wants to leave his genitalia out of the artwork.
Last month, Elden sued Kurt Cobain’s estate, the surviving members of Nirvana, and other parties, accusing them of child exploitation. He claimed that his legal guardians didn’t formally consent to his image being used on the album cover. Legal experts have called the case “frivolous” and “offensive” to victims of child pornography.
As part of the lawsuit, Elden requested that the image be removed from future releases of the album. Since then, a deluxe 30th anniversary reissue has been officially announced for a November 12th release.
As it is, pre-orders of the various deluxe edition are currently available on Nirvana’s website with Elden’s image uncensored. TMZ reports that Elden’s lawyer, Maggie Mabie, is demanding that Universal Music redact the image of Elden’s penis from the cover of the 30th anniversary reissue, requesting that the label “end this child exploitation and violation of privacy.”
In the past, Elden has seemed to have some conflicting feelings about being the Nevermind baby. But while he’s voiced his gripes about having never met the band himself, he appeared happy to recreate the image as an adult for the album’s 25th anniversary back in 2016 and in years prior.
As part of the 30th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind, read our retrospective of the iconic album, including quotes from Eddie Vedder, Jerry Cantrell, Duff McKagan, and more. Also, see below for our exclusive videos featuring Corey Taylor, Dee Snider, and Portugal The Man reflecting on the impact of the album.