Nigel Lythgoe denies Paula Abdul sexual assault allegations


Television producer Nigel Lythgoe has denied allegations made by Paula Abdul in a recent lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting the singer twice while they worked together on their television shows.

“To say I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a huge understatement,” the “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” executive producer said Sunday in a statement to E! News.

“For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear (and completely platonic) friends and colleagues,” he continued. “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, but they are deeply offensive to me and everything I stand for.”

Lythgoe went on to state that he plans to “fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”

Representatives for the producer did not immediately respond Tuesday to The Times’ requests for comment.

Abdul’s lawsuit, which was filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that her boss and on-air co-star, Lythgoe, sexually assaulted her twice during her time on his shows. Abdul appeared as a judge on “American Idol” from 2002 to 2009 and the dance competition “So You Think You Can Dance” from 2015 to 2016.

According to the lawsuit, Lythgoe, 74, first assaulted Abdul, 61, in a hotel elevator in the 2000s while they were on tour filming an early season of “American Idol.” Abdul alleged that one day after the regional auditions, the executive producer “pushed her against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts and started shoving his tongue down her throat” before she ran to her hotel room and inform their representatives of the incident.

Lythgoe allegedly assaulted Abdul again in 2015 when he judged season 12 of “So You Think You Can Dance.” At the time, Lythgoe, co-creator and executive producer of the show, was also part of the judging panel alongside Abdul. She alleged that she was invited to what she believed was a professional dinner at Lythgoe’s home, only for Lythgoe to force himself on her and attempt to kiss her as she sat on her couch before she pushed him away and ran away from her. .

According to the lawsuit, Abdul feared professional retaliation or blackmail if he spoke out against Lythgoe, who was then president of the television division of “American Idol” and producer of “So You Think You Can Dance,” 19 Entertainment Inc.

The “Straight Up” and “Opposites Attract” hitmaker also alleged that she witnessed Lythgoe grope her assistant without her consent during the filming of “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2015.

He also claimed that his show contracts prohibited him from revealing confidential or derogatory information about other judges, hosts or production staff, according to the lawsuit. Abdul alleged that Lythgoe, other executives and representatives of the show’s producers had subjected her to “teasing, intimidation, humiliation and harassment,” including misleading edits of images of Abdul that described her as “inept.”

The lawsuit names Lythgoe and production companies 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, American Idol Productions and Dance Nation Productions as defendants. It lists sexual assault/assault, sexual harassment, gender-based violence and neglect among the accusations.

Abdul’s lawsuit was filed under this year’s Sexual Abuse and Concealment Accountability Act, which allows limited periods to file certain civil sexual abuse claims beyond the usual statute of limitations. Other recent high-profile lawsuits filed under the law have leveled sexual assault allegations against Jermaine Jackson and former Recording Academy head Mike Greene. Aerosmith’s Sean “Diddy” Combs, Antonio “LA” Reid and Steven Tyler have been sued under a similar New York law.

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