The Simpsons’ composer Alf Clausen sues Fox for firing him after 27 years

Composer Alf Clausen was fired from The Simpsons back in 2017. He soundtracked the show for 27 seasons, scoring more than 560 episodes. Now, he’s suing FOX for firing him for allegedly ableist and ageist reasons.

On Monday, Clausen fired a lawsuit against FOX, claiming that he was fired because of his age. FOX’s parent company Disney and James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films are listed as defendants as well. In the lawsuit, he contends that he was told the show would take a “different direction” with its music, Variety reports. “This reason was pretextual and false,” he continues. “Instead, Plaintiff’s unlawful termination was due to perceived disability and age.” He was 78 years old at the time.

After he was fired, Clausen was replaced by Bleeding Fingers Music, the music production company co-founded by Russell Emanuel, Hans Zimmer, and Steve Kofsky. The lawsuit says Clausen’s replacement “was substantially younger in age, who was not only paid less, but was not disabled.” The lawsuit does not detail what Clausen’s disability is.

(Read: The Top 10 Songs from The Simpsons)

Clausen’s 35-piece orchestra has been an defining feature of The Simpsons over the years. Series creator Matt Groening has insisted that the orchestra be used from the very start. As such, it’s created a singular sound for the TV show, and led to some prestigious awards. Clausen received 21 Emmy nominations for his work on the show and won two. He has been nominated 30 times total, making him the most nominated musician in Emmy history.

Months before he was unceremoniously fired, Clausen did an in-depth interview with Consequence of Sound. In it, he discussed his work situation, his career studying music, and the reason why he initially turned down Groening’s offer to score a few episodes in 1990. “I think that’s one of the reasons they’ve kept me all these years: they were looking for somebody who could score all those different types of music in small clip-form,” he said at one point. “That’s what’s been fun for me. I think that anyone else who would have been hired for this job and stayed for this long would have gone to the nuthouse.”

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