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Updated January 2nd, 2024 at 12:09 IST

American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe denies Paula Abdul’s sexual assault claims

Nigel Lythgoe, who also produced So You Think You Can Dance, vehemently refuted sexual assault claims, describing them as "false" and "deeply offensive."

Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul
Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul | Image:X
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Paula Abdul, a singer-actor-choreographer and former judge, has accused American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe of sexual assault. She filed a lawsuit against Lythgoe on Friday, December 29 claiming that he had abused her on several occasions in the show's early seasons. In an official statement Lythgoe, who also produced So You Think You Can Dance, vehemently refuted these claims, describing them as "false" and "deeply offensive."

Nigel Lythgoe's reaction to sexual assault lawsuit 

Lythgoe told TMZ, “Paula and I have interacted as dear -- and entirely platonic. To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement.” 

Paula Abdul with Nigel Lythgoe

Shortly after Paula accused him of pushing her up against a wall and touching her privates, Nigel responded, “Yesterday, however, out of the blue, I learned of these claims in the press and I want to be clear: not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for."

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In the suit, Paula alleges that during one of the early seasons of American Idol, Lythgoe sexually assaulted her in an elevator, reports Variety. She alleged that he shoved her against a wall, groped her, and shoved his tongue down her throat. According to the suit, she tried to push him away, and as soon as the door opened, she ran to her room.

Years later, Abdul was a judge on So You Think You Can Dance. Lythgoe invited her to his home for dinner, and she accepted, thinking it would be a professional encounter. However, according to the suit, Lythgoe forced himself on top of her while she was sitting on his couch, attempted to kiss her, and said they would make a great “power couple”. Again, she pushed him away and fled his home, the lawsuit states.

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Nigel Lythgoe accused of harassment and bullying

Variety further states that the suit also accuses Lythgoe of verbal harassment and bullying, and alleges that Abdul was discriminated against, and was paid less than male judges on American Idol.

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The suit further alleges that the show would be edited misleadingly to make her appear inept. Additionally, Abdul alleges that she witnessed Lythgoe sexually assault one of her assistants in April 2015, pressing up against the assistant and groping her without consent.

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Abdul signed non-disclosure agreements as part of her employment on both reality shows, which prevented her from disclosing confidential or derogatory information.

(with inputs from IANS)

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Published January 1st, 2024 at 14:16 IST

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