Paula Abdul Accuses ‘American Idol’ Producer Nigel Lythgoe of Sexual Assault in Lawsuit

Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit against Nigel Lythgoe, claiming that the American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance producer sexually assaulted her on two occasions.

According to multiple reports citing court documents filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the GRAMMY winner claims the first alleged incident happened during one of American Idol‘s “initial seasons.” Abdul was one of the original judges on the singing competition series from 2002 to 2009, alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.

In court documents, Abdul, 60, claims Lythgoe, 74, assaulted her in an elevator when he “shoved [her] against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts and began shoving his tongue down her throat.” She claims she “attempted to push Lythgoe away from her and let him know that his behavior was not acceptable.” 

ET has reached out to Lythgoe’s reps for comment.

After the alleged assault, Abdul claims she informed her reps about it but chose not to take action out of “fear that Lythgoe would have her fired from American Idol.” She also went on to claim that she was “discriminated against in terms of compensation and benefits compared to one of the show’s male judges and the host,” while also being “the target of constant taunts, bullying, humiliation and harassment” as a judge on the hit series.

Abdul claims Lythgoe sexually assaulted her again in 2015 when she was a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, this time at his home where she was invited to dinner “believing this to be a professional invitation.” But Abdul claims Lythgoe “forced himself on top of Abdul while she was seated on his couch and attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent power couple.”

The “Opposites Attract” singer claims she pushed him off and told him she was not interested in his advances and left his home. That same year, Abdul claims she also witnessed Lythgoe sexually assault one of her assistants identified as April in court documents.

“One evening, Lythgoe approached Abdul and April from behind, pressed himself up against April and began to grope her,” the lawsuit stated. “April did not consent.”

Abdul is also suing the production companies behind the shows, which Lythgoe produced until 2014. She stated in the lawsuit that she did not speak out about the claims for fear of retaliation. She’s suing Lythgoe and the production companies for sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence.


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