79-year-old do a hip-hop? ‘The Simpsons’ Where’s Free Speech Battle Age Bias Claim

As the old saying goes, no business is like show business. For one thing, show business is speech business. But the actions by an entertainment producer are legitimately free speech, and what are the distinctions of plain ol? It is not always clear. Just look at the ongoing case of 79-year-old Alf Clausen, who was fired The Simpsons Composer after 27 years of famous work on the animated classic. As his trial heads to an important hearing next week, Clausen looks to mitigate Fox’s position that the dispute relates to an important First Amendment issue.

Classen is suing Disney and its Fox divisions with claims that their termination was due to age and disability discrimination. The musician says that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and explains how The Simpsons Producers dump him in favor of Hans Zimmer’s company.

In April, in an attempt to defeat the suit, Fox offered a different side of the story. According to the defendants’ court papers, Clausen was fired after concerns about his work were heightened by the producers regarding a particular hip-hop-themed animated show. The Simpsons producer James L. Brooks wondered if Clausen was the right person to produce rap music, while others were reportedly troubled by the discovery that Clausen was handing over some of the music’s work Simpson For others including his son Scott Clausen. Overall, according to announcements made by the show’s other top producers, there was a feeling that the music could be improved instead of Clausen.

“Defendants present evidence that it is decided not to use Clausen as a musician in future episodes Simpson Speech-related inspirations, “wrote a lawyer for The Simpsons Defendants.

“Lies and deceit,” answers Clausen’s justified protest. (Read full here)

The brief states that Mr. Clausen’s evidence … demonstrates that at least since 2008, Fox had known that he regularly assigns musical compositions to members of his team. “This fact is confirmed not only through Fox’s own cue sheet, but emails between Matt Sellman, Al Jean, Carole Farhat and even James Brooks, including Scott Clausen and other creations It is indisputable to discuss.

Plaintiff’s attorneys then add, “The notion that Mr. Clauson was unable to capture the audience’s vision is equally frightening. … Mr. Clausen won two Emmys, five Annie Awards, and Emmy became the most nominated musician in history Gone, which set a record 23. Emmy nominations for her work in The Simpsons. Al Jean and Matt Selman skipped recording sessions regularly, only to be revealed by the fact that their faith and belief in Mr. Clausen Was transported so far. “

As if Klaus is capable of hip-hop, the composer states that Brooks is merely exposing “discriminatory egalitarian beliefs that Mr. Clausen was only good at older styles of music, but rather [than] Up-to-date genres, such as rap, electronic, etc. – even if the evidence and their work history prove otherwise. “

At an Aug. 5 hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, the judge will not necessarily issue whether The Simpsons Producers were justified in replacing Klausen, who also says they worked within budget parameters. Instead, the question may be: Was there a shootout about music? Because if it is about the music, Fox has a very good chance of prevailing on its anti-SLAPP proposal. Clausen means that his firing was not about the music.

California’s SLAPP statute aims to swiftly dispel with frivolous lawsuits that interfere with one’s free speech. Under the first verse of the SLAPP analysis, a judge investigates whether an act that advances a defendant’s First Amendment activity in relation to a public case leads to legal action. This analysis is somewhat complex in relation to entertainment and media companies. The courts do not want to ignore discrimination, but judges, on the other hand, believe that these institutions give speeches as a regular function. Sometimes this means that a controversial decision by an entertainment or media defendant may be associated with an important issue of speech. No wonder the subject has been the subject of very recent appellate opinion (such as this one, or that one).

So, Clausen’s firing was motivated by a desire to improve the music Simpson – as Fox says – or is it just pretense? And how does a judge weigh the evidence? Here, Clausen’s attorneys Thomas Girardi and Abbi Bakhtiar attempted to convince the judge that Fox’s prior knowledge of the work delegation, which now, among other things in the submission, objected to Fox’s decision The rationale behind the decision to terminate is being deceived. Longtime composer of the show.

If Clausen does not prevail on this point, La Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern would then turn to an analysis of the merits of Clausen’s claims. Under the second rule of the SLAPP statute, the plaintiff must establish the possibility of prevailing before proceeding with the case. Clausen’s lawyers translate this to mean that the suit only needs to show “minimal qualifications” (which they believe they have met), although Fox is likely to argue that the screen is higher, especially Seeing valid justification, he has offered Clausen’s termination.

This article was originally featured in THR.com.

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