As The Simpsons prepares to reach new audiences on Disney +, legal tensions between the show's producers and their longtime musician are mounting. Los Angeles County Judge Michael L. Stern issued a commission that went public last week allowing the composers of The Simpsons Alf Clausen to advance a labor lawsuit against the show's producers.
Hollywood music giant Alf Clausen (79) was responsible for the music of the Simpsons from 1990 until he was released in 2017. Clausen won two Emmys for his work and became the most nominated composer in Emmy history. He garnered 23 Emmy nominations. Before working on The Simpsons, Clausen was a composer for many successful television shows such as The Donny & Marie Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, Fame, Little House on the Prairie and Moonlighting, as well as for feature films such as Mr. Mom, Splash, Weird Science, Ferris Buellers Day off and The Naked Gun.
At the heart of the litigation is a dispute over the Simpsons producers' reason for firing Clausen. In a lawsuit filed last August that named Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and others as defendants, Clausen alleged the producers wrongly terminated him. He also claimed that he was the victim of age and disability discrimination (diagnosis of Parkinson's disease). Clausen continues to claim that he is a victim of intentional infliction of emotional stress.
The producers, on the other hand, said their decision had nothing to do with Clausen's age or disability – it was motivated by Clausen's shortcomings as a composer. They said Clausen did not properly delegate part of the composition to his team and that he could not adequately grasp the producers' vision regarding the use of synth and rap music. When Clausen was fired from his appearance on The Simpsons, he was replaced by the 62-year-old film music veteran Hans Zimmer. In his pleadings, Clausen had some unkind words for Grammy, Golden Globe, and Oscar-winning Zimmer, who is known for composing the music for the Pirates of the Caribbean, Interstellar, Gladiator, Crimson Tide, Inception, Dunkirk, and The Dark Knight trilogy . Clausen claimed that when Zimmer & # 39; s company was hired to replace The Simpsons, the show's music was "inferior in quality, depth, range and sound, but stylistically similar in content".
Clausen, who dismissed all arguments that he might be the wrong choice to further manage the show's soundtrack, argued in his pleadings that he was "equally capable of creating hip hop, rap and any other style of music" and " after 50 "After years of composing music for film and television, there was no style of music that was alien to Mr. Clausen or whose creation he was uncomfortable with. "
Clausen said that during his tenure with The Simpsons he composed “numerous rap and hip-hop cues, including the season seven & # 39; Homerpalooza & # 39; episode in which the producers wrote him the hip-hop song & # 39; # 39; Insane in the Membrane & # 39; was composed by rap group Cypress Hill with an orchestra. "
The defendants argued that Clausen's lawsuit was a frivolous attempt to violate their freedom of speech. On that basis, California's anti-SLAPP law gave the defendants a legal right to dismiss the complaint at an early stage in the litigation. Judge Stern found that Clausen had fulfilled his burden of proof for disability discrimination and wrongful termination claims, but not for age discrimination or deliberate infliction of emotional distress claims. The case will now go through the detection process.
(Image via Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for ASCAP)
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