Just over one year ago 79-year-old composer Alf Clausen filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox and the producers of The Simpsons, alleging that his dismissal from the series years prior had been due to age discrimination. Fox countered that Clausen's firing from The Simpsons, a series he'd been working on for over 27 years, was because he'd been handing off parts of his Simpsons workload to other people, including his son Scott Clausen. A judge has now given Clausen the opportunity to proceed in his suit, but not for the reason that he initially put forth when filing the suit last year.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Stern ruled that only some of Clausen's claims fall under anti-SLAPP, specifically disability discrimination, age discrimination, and wrongful discharge, allowing for his lawsuit to move forward. The pieces of his originally filed that were ruled to not be applicable were the claims of failure to accommodate (due to his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease), retaliation, and unfair business practices. The trade notes that the Judge ruled Clausen could win the case based on disability discrimination but not age discrimination.
Perhaps the biggest thing working in Clausen's favor is that his diagnosis with Parkinson's came in 2013, but he did not make it publicly known until 2016 with his firing coming a year later. The composer claims that at the time no attempts were made by the producers to accommodate him after he revealed his diagnosis. As reported by THR, according to his son Scott Clausen, an executive at Fox made the disparaging comment, "What’s going on with your dad? Now’s not the time to piss off the producers."
As of this writing it's unclear if the lawsuit will actually proceed or if a settlement between Clausen and Fox will take place. THR notes that an appellate court will likely see the details of the case ahead of a potential trial, assuming once again that no settlement takes place.
Clausen began his work on the series with its second season and would go on to provide the score for almost 600 of its episodes, winning two Primetime Emmys along the way. His final season with the series was season 28 in 2017. Following his firing, The Simpsons producers replaced him with Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer.
Every season of The Simpsons is now streaming on Disney+.