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Paula Abdul Alleges Sexual Assault by “American Idol” Producer Nigel Lythgoe in Lawsuit

Former Judge Claims Assaults During "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance" Seasons
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Paula Abdul, renowned singer and former judge on “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” has filed a lawsuit accusing producer Nigel Lythgoe of multiple sexual assaults. Abdul, 61, alleges that Lythgoe, 74, assaulted her during the earlier seasons of “American Idol” and later in 2014 while serving as judges on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit against producer Nigel Lythgoe for sexually assaulting her multiple times after joining “American Idol” in the early 2000s.

The lawsuit details the first alleged assault in a hotel elevator during “American Idol’s” audition stage, where Lythgoe reportedly assaulted Abdul, prompting her to run to her hotel room in distress. Abdul claims she remained silent, fearing retaliation from Lythgoe, who had the power to influence her role as a judge.

The second alleged assault occurred in 2014 at Lythgoe’s home after a dinner invitation. Abdul states that Lythgoe forced himself on her, expressing a desire to be a “power couple.” The singer pushed Lythgoe away and left immediately, but again, she remained silent due to fear of reprisal.

(L-R) Lythgoe, Abdul, Maddie Ziegler, and Jason Derulo on the season finale of “So You Think You Can Dance” on Sept. 12

Abdul further claims to have witnessed Lythgoe sexually assault one of her assistants during the filming of “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2015. The lawsuit includes allegations of Lythgoe teasing Abdul about the statute of limitations.

Paula Abdul is suing Lythgoe for sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, and negligence. The lawsuit also names production companies associated with the shows as defendants. The legal action follows a trend of high-profile figures facing sexual abuse allegations, leveraging changes in legislation regarding the statute of limitations.

Lythgoe was last listed as a producer for the talent-based singing show in 2014.

Nigel Lythgoe’s representatives have not yet responded to requests for comment.

December 30, 2023

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