Nigel Lythgoe will not be a judge on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

Nigel Lythgoe has been eliminated from Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” ahead of the dance competition’s 18th season, the show’s producers confirmed to The Times.

The announcement was made days after Paula Abdul and two former contestants on one of the producer’s shows accused him of sexual assault in separate lawsuits.

The show’s production companies (19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions) and Fox, which broadcasts the dance competition, said in a joint statement that the show “will continue, albeit without Nigel Lythgoe, to ensure the show remains committed to the contestants, “Those who have worked incredibly hard to have the opportunity to compete on our stage.”

“No decision has been made regarding a substitute judge for this season,” the statement added. The long-running dance competition, created by Lythgoe, was renewed for its 18th season in December, and he returned as executive producer and judge.

Lythgoe said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter that the decision to step away from the show was his own. “I did it with a heavy heart but completely voluntarily because this great program has always been about dance and dancers, and that’s where its focus should remain,” she said. “In the meantime, I am dedicated to clearing my name and restoring my reputation.”

Last week, Abdul sued Lythgoe, alleging that the producer sexually assaulted her twice while they were working together on his shows “American Idol” and “SYTYCD.”

The producer denied Abdul’s accusations, calling them “false” and “deeply offensive to me and everything I stand for.” He called her relationship with Abdul “completely platonic,” saying she was a friend and colleague of his, and vowed to “fight this egregious smear with everything I have.”

Then, earlier this week, two more women came forward accusing him of sexually assaulting them in 2003. The women were identified as former contestants Jane Doe KG and Jane Doe KN from the television show “AAG,” which is believed to be a reference to Lythgoe’s short-lived “All American Girl.”

Abdul and the two women joined a growing list of accusers who have filed lawsuits under California’s Sexual Assault and Concealment Accountability Act, which allows sexual assault survivors to sue beyond the statute of limitations. usual.

After the second lawsuit, pressure began to mount on companies doing business with Lythgoe. At least one petition, started by the anti-sexism advocacy group UltraViolet, emerged amid news of the second lawsuit, calling on Fox to drop Lythgoe. The petition, launched Wednesday, is addressed to Allison Wallach, president of unscripted programming at Fox Entertainment, and has amassed more than 7,000 signatures.

“We cannot remain silent while Fox benefits from and promotes a known abuser,” the petition said.

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