Ex-‘Simpsons’ Composer Alf Clausen Sues Fox for Wrongful Termination – Rolling Stone
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Ex-‘Simpsons’ Composer Alf Clausen Files Wrongful Termination Suit

Emmy-winning composer says he was fired from show in 2017 because of “disability and age”

Alf Clausen speaks at "SCORE! A Concert Celebrating Music Composed for Television" presented by the Television Academy at UCLA's Royce Hall, in Los AngelesSCORE! A Concert Celebrating Music Composed for Television presented by the Television Academy - Show, Los Angeles, USA

Alf Clausen (above), who was fired from 'The Simpsons' in 2017, has sued the show and Fox, claiming he was let go because of 'age and disability.'

Todd Williamson/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Alf Clausen, the longtime composer for The Simpsons who was fired from the show in 2017, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Fox and the show, claiming he was dismissed because of his age, Variety reports.

Clausen joined The Simpsons during its second season and worked on the show for 27 years. When he was let go in 2017, he said he received a call from Simpsons producer Richard Sakai, who said the show was seeking “a different kind of music.”

In his new lawsuit, filed Monday, Clausen countered, saying, “This reason was pretextual and false. Instead, Plaintiff’s unlawful termination was due to perceived disability and age.” The new suit names Fox, James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films and The Simpsons‘ new corporate owner, Disney, as defendants.

A representative for The Simpsons declined to comment. A representative for Fox did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

After Clausen was fired, The Simpsons replaced him with the music production company Bleeding Fingers Music, which was founded by Hans Zimmer, Russell Emanuel and Steve Kofsky. The suit alleges that Clausen’s replacement “was substantially younger in age [and] was not only paid less, but was not disabled.” The suit does not identify Clausen’s disability.

A lawyer for Clausen did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

At the time of Clausen’s firing, there was some speculation that the move was part of ongoing cost-cutting measures at The Simpsons, even though the show continues to rake in massive profits. The composer’s overhead was particularly high because he scored every episode with a 35-piece orchestra. While that was the set-up Simpsons creator Matt Groening wanted from the start, the cost of musicians, studios, orchestrations and other expenses could run into the millions per year.

During his tenure, Clausen handled background music and cues, contributed to an array of classic Simpsons songs and earned 23 Emmy nominations, winning two. At the start of Season Three, he also re-arranged Danny Elfman’s famous Simpsons theme song.

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