The Big Bang Theory is popular enough that it usually generates relatively pleasant press, but this morning we learned that a former 2nd assistant director on the hit CBS comedy is not pleased about how his tenure on the show ended. After getting fired from The Big Bang Theory recently, Christopher Klausen is suing the show’s parent company, Warner Bros. TV, for alleged age discrimination. At the time of the filing yesterday, Klausen was 55 years old.
The 25-page complaint to the Los Angeles Superior Court says that Klausen worked on The Big Bang Theory for seven years as a second assistant director. During that time, he believes the cast and crew discriminated against him multiple times which eventually led to him getting fired from the show. Here’s the exact quote:
Nonetheless, Mr. Klausen was subjected to discrimination, repeated demotions, and eventually terminated because of age.
In the report, retrieved by Deadline, Klausen alleges that the stars of The Big Bang Theory began to be mean to him after he turned 50, which by my math would have been five seasons ago. He also says that younger people on the set were given some of the jobs that would typically be given to a 2nd Assistant Director, including working with the actors and getting them through costuming and wardrobe. He says the younger people who took those jobs were then trained in his position.
He was let go by the series after The Big Bang Theory finished filming the recent eighth season of the comedy. At that time, the CBS comedy had already been renewed for additional seasons. He was told it was for “performance reasons,” but when he was being fired he actually uttered that it was because the show wanted someone younger in the role, not because he was incapable of doing his duties. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. It’s really difficult to know from the outside who is easy to get along with, who is helpful and who is contributing on set versus who is incompetent and difficult to work with.
The Big Bang Theory has run for a lot of seasons on CBS, and much of the cast and crew has been the same throughout the show’s run. Clearly, something the hit program is doing is working. It’s too bad Klausen and company weren’t able to figure out a way to happily co-exist. We’ll keep you updated on this case as it works its way through the court system. If this winds up going all the way to trial, it’ll be expensive and time-consuming, but from Warner Bros and The Big Bang Theory’s perspective, that may be better than settling with someone who clearly didn’t fit in.
The Big Bang Theory, sans Christopher Klausen, will return for Season 9 on Monday, September 21 at 8 p.m. ET. You can find the rest of our fall TV premiere schedule here.