In 2017, Alf Clausen — the man behind the music for each episode of The Simpsons for 27 seasons — was fired, prompting the composer to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against Fox. Now, Variety reports that Clausen has dropped the lawsuit.
Clausen, who was 78 at the time he was fired, filed the suit in August 2019, alleging that Fox let him go from the show due to his age and Parkinson’s diagnosis. A judge dismissed part of the lawsuit in 2020, saying Clausen did not have enough evidence to back up his claims of age discrimination, but he could proceed with his disability discrimination claim.
Fox appealed the judge’s ruling, and Clausen’s attorney, Ebby Bakhtiar, told Variety that the justices seemed unlikely to rule in Clausen’s favor. Instead of putting Clausen at risk of having to pay attorneys’ fees, Bakhtiar concluded that dropping the suit altogether would be the safest option: “We caught a very, very conservative panel… I think he got screwed.”
Throughout the case, Fox maintained that they let Clausen go over creative differences, arguing his talents in classical, big band, and jazz music prevented him from keeping up with popular culture.
“In my view, it is important for the show to reference and use the musical genres that are popular at the time or that evoke relevant cultural references, because the show entertains not only by telling a story but also by making these cultural references — and musical references are incredibly important for that,” showrunner Matt Selman previously stated. “At some point, it became clear to me that Clausen was not adept at composing all the myriad forms of music desired for the show.”
This issue particularly surfaced with an episode called “The Great Phatsby.” Since it heavily featured hip-hop music, an outside composer was brought in to work with Clausen, but producers were still dissatisfied with the ultimate result.
Revisit Consequence’s 2017 interview with Clausen here.