‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judge Retires After Paula Abdul Lawsuit

Nigel Lythgoe resigned as a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance,” the show said Friday, after Paula Abdul sued him and accused him of sexual assault.

Lythgoe, who has denied sexually assaulting Abdul, said in a statement that he was withdrawing from the show he had helped create “with a heavy heart but completely voluntarily because this great show has always been about dance and dancers. and that is where he must remain his focus.”

“In the meantime, I am dedicated to clearing my name and restoring my reputation,” Lythgoe, who was also a producer on the show, said in the statement.

Variety was the first to report Lythgoe’s departure.

In the lawsuit, which was filed last month, Abdul accused Lythgoe of pushing her against a hotel elevator wall, grabbing her genitals and breasts and shoving his tongue down her throat in the early 2000s while she was judge. “American Idol.” Lythgoe, who had been a producer on the show at the time, called the allegations “false” and “deeply offensive to me and everything I stand for.”

Lythgoe, 74, has been one of the faces of “So You Think You Can Dance” since he helped create the show in 2005. He had been among the producers who made “American Idol” a phenomenon in the United States after from an earlier version aired in Britain, and “So You Think You Can Dance” also proved to be a ratings success in its early seasons as it followed a similar format.

Lythgoe, a commercial dance entrepreneur, had been a judge on the show for 16 of its 17 seasons, providing live feedback to young contemporary, ballroom and hip-hop dancers. The show had been planning to return this spring with a new format and was set to reunite Lythgoe with new judges, including Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the “Dancing With the Stars” choreographer, and Allison Holker, a former contestant.

The production companies behind the show, including Dick Clark Productions and 19 Entertainment, and Fox, the network that airs it, said in a joint statement Friday that the show would continue without Lythgoe and would remain “committed to the contestants.” who have worked incredibly hard to have the opportunity to compete on our stage.”

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