Paula Abdul Accuses American Idol Producer Nigel Lythgoe Of Sexual Assault
Paula Abdul has accused former “American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe of sexually assaulting her in the early 2000s when she was a
Paula Abdul has accused former “American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe of sexually assaulting her in the early 2000s when she was a judge on the reality show, according to a new lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles also accuses Lythgoe of sexually assaulting Abdul after she left “American Idol” and became a judge on another Lythgoe show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Paula Abdul Accuses American Idol Producer Nigel Lythgoe
In a statement Saturday, Abdul’s attorney, Douglas Johnson, applauded the singer and dancer for speaking out publicly.
“There is no doubt that it was a difficult decision, but Ms. Abdul knows that she is in the shoes of and owes it to many other survivors of similar situations, and she is determined to see justice served,” Johnson said.
Lythgoe issued a statement in which he said he was “surprised and saddened” by the statements of Abdul, whom he considered a “dear” and “merely platonic” friend.
“Although Paula’s history of erratic behavior is well known, I cannot pretend to understand exactly why she would file a lawsuit that she must know is false,” Lythgoe continued. “But I can promise you that I will fight this shocking smear with everything I have.”
The lawsuit claims Paula Abdul kept silent for years about the alleged assaults for fear of retaliation from “one of television’s best-known game show producers.”
Before “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” on which he was a judge for 16 seasons, Lythgoe was a producer on the British show “Pop Idol,” which became a global franchise that includes the American version starring by Abdul.
According to the lawsuit, the first sexual assault occurred when Abdul and Lythgoe were on the road recording auditions for one of the early seasons of “American Idol,” which premiered in 2002.
Paula Abdul claims Lythgoe groped her in the elevator of her hotel after a day of filming and “started sticking his tongue down her throat.” Abdul pushed him away and ran to her hotel room when the elevator doors opened.
“Through tears, Abdul quickly called one of her representatives to inform them of the assault,” the lawsuit says, “but ultimately decided not to take action for fear that Lythgoe would get her fired from American Idol.”
Abdul, a Grammy and Emmy winner was a judge for the first eight seasons until 2009.
In 2015, Abdul became a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance,” alongside Lythgoe.
At that time, Abdul alleged in her lawsuit that Lythgoe forcibly stood on top of her during dinner at her home and tried to kiss her. Abdul said she pushed Lythgoe again and left immediately.
Abdul left the reality show after two seasons. Since then, she has not worked with Lythgoe again.
The lawsuit also accuses Lythgoe of mocking Abdul about her alleged assaults, telling him years later that she “should celebrate” because “the statute of limitations had expired.”
Abdul filed the lawsuit days before the Dec. 31 deadline of a California law that opened a one-year window for victims to file sexual abuse lawsuits after the crime had expired.
More than 3,700 lawsuits were filed in New York under a similar law that expired last month.