Maggie Mabie, the lawyer representing Spencer Elden, the baby featured on the cover of Nevermind, has been confronted by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo about the “child sexual exploitation” lawsuit being brought against Nirvana over the image.
- READ MORE: Baby on cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind reportedly suing the band for “child sexual exploitation”
In an interview on CNN, Mabie defended the suit against the many detractors it has gained. “The focal point of the image is the minor’s genitalia,” she said. “And here in that image along with all of the other dose factors as we pled in our complaint, it is a very over-sexualised image, and does constitute child pornography. More importantly, it was child exploitation in the way that they created it, and the way that they continue to distribute the image today.”
Anchor Chris Cuomo responded by calling into question the nature of the image as pornographic, saying: “I don’t ever remember anybody ever writing or anything being out there in society about this image as a sexualized or pornographic image. I always thought that it was a suggestion of how right out of the womb, people are just grabbing for money and doing anything they can. I thought it was more about capitalism than it was sexuality.”
“[Elden] is saying that he doesn’t want his genitalia out there for the world to consume any longer, and if we have this image redacted, that will be a monumental signal for all victims of child pornography that their voices are being heard and their privacy is being respected.”
The case has received a wide range of criticism since going public. Many were quick to point out how, until now, Elden had publicly celebrated the cover – recreating it a number of times, and getting the name of the album tattooed all the way across his chest. Lawyers have also disputed how likely it is for the legal system to categorise the cover as pornographic.
Cuomo echoed this, and even implied the suit itself was an insult to other victims. “You think that this man is really a good face for the pain of child pornography?” he asked. “Somebody who’s made money out of it. Has a tattoo on his chest about it. Has celebrated it at different times in his life and had all this time to reach out about it in the context that you’re offering now, and never did? You really think that this is something that would be comforting to real victims?”
Elden has more recently expressed apathy towards the album cover, and to his compensation for it. “It’d be nice to have a quarter for every person that has seen my baby penis,” he said in a New York Post interview in 2016.
You can see the clip on Yahoo.