Paula Abdul sues 39American Idol39 manager Nigel Lythgoe over alleged

Paula Abdul sues 'American Idol' manager Nigel Lythgoe over alleged sexual assault

Entertainment

Published December 30, 2023, 4:08 a.m. ET

Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit against producer Nigel Lythgoe for sexually abusing her on multiple occasions after she joined “American Idol” in the early 2000s. Getty Images

Paula Abdul accused former “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” producer Nigel Lythgoe of sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles.

Abdul, 61, claims Lythgoe, 74, sexually assaulted her during one of the “first seasons” of “American Idol” and then again in 2014 when they were judges on “So You Think You Can Dance,” according to reports it in the lawsuit obtained by The Post.

Lythgoe produced “American Idol” at the height of the show’s popularity in the 2000s and was last credited as a producer on the talent-based singing show in 2014.

From 2005 to 2014, Lythgoe was credited as producer and co-creator of So You Think You Can Dance.

Abdul claims Lythgoe committed the first sexual assault in a hotel elevator during the auditions of earlier seasons of American Idol.

“Lythgoe pushed Abdul against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts and began shoving his tongue down her throat,” the lawsuit says.

Lythgoe produced “American Idol” at the height of the show’s popularity in the 2000s. (709)

“Abdul tried to push Lythgoe away from her. When the elevator doors opened for her door, Abdul ran out of the elevator and into her hotel room. Abdul, in tears, quickly called one of their representatives to inform him of the attack.”

Abdul claimed she remained silent about the allegations out of fear of retaliation from Lythgoe, who she said had the power to fire her from her role as a judge on the show.

During the second alleged assault, Abdul claims Lythgoe sexually assaulted her at his home after inviting her to dinner in 2014.

Nigel Lythgoe was a producer on “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” while Abdul served as a judge on both shows. Getty Images

“Abdul believed it was a professional invitation and accepted it,” the lawsuit says.

“Towards the end of the evening, Lythgoe forced himself to straddle Abdul while she sat on his couch and attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent 'power couple,'” it says the lawsuit.

“Abdul pushed Lythgoe away from her, stating that she was not interested in his advances, and left immediately.”

(LR) Lythgoe, Abdul, Maddie Ziegler and Jason Derulo at the season finale of “So You Think You Can Dance” on September 12, 2026.

Still fearful of Lythgoe's power as a leader, the “Cold Hearted” singer once again claimed she remained silent about the alleged assault because she feared she would be “weakened” if she spoke out.

Abdul claims she saw Lythgoe sexually assault one of her assistants, identified in the lawsuit as “April,” while they were filming “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2015.

Lythgoe “approached Abdul and April from behind, pressed himself against April and began to feel her up. April did not consent,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges that the Hollywood executive teased Abdul over the phone about his inappropriate behavior.

“Lythgoe knew and was aware that his treatment of Abdul was inappropriate and even criminal,” the lawsuit says.

Abdul claimed she remained silent about the allegations out of fear of retaliation from Lythgoe, who she said had the power to fire her from her role as a judge on the show. Portal The lawsuit involves the shows' production companies, American Idol Productions, Dance Nation Productions, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America. ©20thCentFox/courtesy of Everett

“In fact, at one point Lythgoe called Abdul and taunted them that they should celebrate because it had been seven years and the statute of limitations had expired. Lythgoe clearly knew that his attacks on Abdul were not only wrong, but that he also had the power to silence them.”

The lawsuit also accuses Lythgoe of “verbally insulting and belittling” Abdul when she met with executives about the launch of “American Idol” in 2001, and allegedly told the music icon she was a “has-been” the participants of the show probably wouldn’t know”. .”

The “Knocked Out” singer is suing Lythgoe for sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender-based violence and negligence.

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

The Post has reached out to Lythgoe representatives for comment.

Production companies American Idol Productions, Dance Nation Productions, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit comes as a host of prominent figures are filing sexual abuse lawsuits after New York and California passed laws temporarily lifting the statute of limitations on those claims.

Sean “Diddy” Combs, Axl Rose and Jermaine Jackson have also been sued in recent months for alleged sexual assault.

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