There have been 662 episodes of The Simpsons so far, but the upcoming 31st and 32nd seasons might be singing a different tune thanks to a new lawsuit from the Matt Groening-created series’ former longtime composer.
Pink-slipped in 2017 after 27 penning the tunes for Marge, Homer, Bart and crew, Alf Clausen has hit Disney as well as producers 20th Century Fox Television and James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films with an age-discrimination action. Seeking a jury trial and claiming the then-stated reason for his exit — “taking the music in a different direction” — was “false,” two-time Emmy winner Clausen says his “unlawful termination was due to perceived disability and age.”
“Defendant treated plaintiff in the herein alleged manner, in conscious disregard for his rights and safety, rendering its acts and omissions despicable,” reads the 18-page complaint (read it here), which seeks unspecified damages.
As offered proof of such ageism, Clausen’s injunctive and nine-claim suit in Los Angeles Superior Court cites that his replacement on the series “was substantially younger in age, who was not only paid less, but was not disabled.”
Bleeding Fingers Music, the collective co-founded by Hans Zimmer, snagged the contract to do The Simpsons’ music after Clausen was canned. For the record, Zimmer is 61 years old, though BFM member Austen Fray seems to be the one directly handling The Simpsons tunes, according to the Bleeding Fingers website.
Oddly, the filing by the 78-year-old Clausen’s attorneys at Girardi & Keese and Livingston & Bakhtiar does not specify the disability Clausen has.
Owned by Disney since the finalization of the $71.3 billion acquisition of the film and TV assets of the Fox empire in March, Disney Television Studios division 20th Century Fox TV had no comment on the suit when contacted by Deadline today.
BTW, while Clausen didn’t come up with The Simpsons theme song, he did rework the Danny Elfman tune in the show’s third season. In total, Clausen wrote and conducted music for about 565 episodes of the series. Those are some big numbers Disney, and we ain’t talking from the AARP POV.