For 27 years and more than 550 episodes, Alf Clausen was the man responsible for the iconic, Emmy-winning score on The Simpsons. But in 2017, Clausen was unexpectedly let go as the Simpsons‘ composer, with Fox saying that while they “tremendously value[d] Alf Clausen’s contributions” to the show, they were planning to take “the music in a different direction.”
Two years later, Clausen is suing the network, claiming that he was not fired due to the show going in a new direction musically but rather, he was only dismissed from the show because of his age and disability.
“This reason was pretextual and false,” the lawsuit filed on behalf of the 78-year-old composer claims. “Instead, [the] plaintiff’s unlawful termination was due to perceived disability and age.”
According to Variety, Clausen’s exact disability is not specified in the suit but reads that his replacement “was substantially younger in age, who was not only paid less but was not disabled.” Clausen was replaced by Bleeding Fingers Music, a music production company which was co-founded in 2013 by Russell Emanuel, Hans Zimmer and Steve Kofsky. Along with Fox, Clausen’s suit also names Disney and James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films as defendants.
During his time on The Simpsons, Clausen was nominated for 23 Emmys for his work on the show. He won two Emmys in 1997 and 1998, which he shared with lyricist Ken Keeler.
After his departure was met with backlash from fans, Simpsons producers released a statement claiming that Clausen would “an ongoing role in the show.” However, that appears to have just been an attempt to save face.