Paula Abdul alleges sexual assault by American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe

    On Friday, Paula Abdul filed a lawsuit asserting that she experienced two instances of sexual assault at the hands of Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

    Nigel Lythgoe (Source: TVline)

    Nigel Lythgoe (Source: TVline)

    Lythgoe issued a statement on Saturday vehemently denying the allegations. "To express my shock and sadness over the accusations made by Paula Abdul is an immense understatement. Paula and I have shared a relationship of close friendship and professional collaboration for over two decades, always maintaining a purely platonic connection. Suddenly learning about these claims in the media was completely unexpected. 

    I want to emphasize that not only are these allegations untrue, but they are deeply hurtful and offensive to me and my principles. Despite Paula's well-documented history of unpredictable behavior, I cannot fathom the motive behind filing a lawsuit she knows to be false. I am determined to combat this egregious smear with every resource available to me," stated Lythgoe.

    Paula Abdul (Source: People)

    Allegations of Sexual Assault

    Abdul gained fame in the late 80s and later transitioned to a second career as a reality show competition judge in the early 2000s. In her legal complaint, she contends that during one of the initial seasons of "American Idol," Lythgoe sexually assaulted her in an elevator.

    She claims he forcibly pressed her against a wall, groped her breasts and genitals, and forcefully kissed her. The lawsuit details her attempts to resist by pushing him away, and as soon as the elevator door opened, she swiftly retreated to her hotel room.

    Behind the Scenes

    Several years later, Abdul served as a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance." Lythgoe extended an invitation for dinner at his home, with Abdul initially assuming it was a professional engagement. However, as outlined in the lawsuit, Lythgoe allegedly made unwelcome advances by attempting to force himself on top of her while she sat on his couch, insisting on a kiss, and suggesting they could form a formidable "power couple."

    Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe (Source: X)

    The lawsuit further claims that Lythgoe engaged in verbal harassment and bullying. It asserts that Abdul faced discrimination and unequal pay compared to male judges on "American Idol." Additionally, the suit alleges that the show's editing was manipulated to portray her as incompetent.

    The legal complaint contends that Lythgoe's conduct was widely known and points to a MADtv parody that depicted Lythgoe harassing contestants. As per the lawsuit, Lythgoe allegedly called Abdul at one point and taunted her, remarking that seven years had passed, suggesting the expiration of the statute of limitations.

    As part of her employment on both reality shows, Abdul signed non-disclosure agreements that restricted her from revealing confidential or disparaging information. Abdul additionally filed lawsuits against 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, American Idol Productions, and Dance Nation Productions. The legal action claims that these companies neglected to implement measures to reprimand Lythgoe and shield him from facing accountability for his alleged actions.