Paula Abdul Takes Legal Action Against "American Idol" Executive Producer, Alleging Sexual Assault

  • by:
  • Source: NPR
  • 12/30/2023
In a recent development, Paula Abdul, renowned singer and former judge on popular television shows "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," has taken legal action against Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of these shows. Abdul alleges that she was subjected to multiple instances of sexual assault by Lythgoe during her tenure as a judge. 

The individual is stepping forward as a result of the implementation of California's Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act. This legislation enables victims to submit claims that would have previously been dismissed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

During one of the early seasons of "American Idol," an incident took place as the show was en route to regional auditions, as reported by TMZ. On Friday, a case was filed in Los Angeles County. According to Abdul, an incident occurred in an elevator at their hotel involving Lythgoe. She alleges that he forcefully pushed her against the wall, touched her breasts and genitals without consent, and attempted to engage in a non-consensual tongue-kiss.

Upon the opening of the elevator doors, Abdul recounts that he was subjected to an attempt by an individual, presumably a woman, to physically distance him from her. Following this encounter, the woman promptly retreated to the confines of her own room. The individual asserted that they contacted one of their representatives to report the purported assault. However, due to concerns of potential reprisal and the fear of losing their job, they chose to keep the incident to themselves. 

In 2015, following her acceptance of a new deal to join the judging panel of the popular television show "So You Think You Can Dance," the alleged second assault incident took place. During one of her two seasons on the show, Lythgoe extended an invitation to Abdul to visit his house and discuss potential career opportunities. Abdul, perceiving it as a professional opportunity, accepted the invitation.

According to her account, during the evening, Lythgoe allegedly engaged in non-consensual behavior by forcing himself on top of her while she was seated on a couch and attempted to initiate physical contact by trying to kiss her. According to the lawsuit documents, it is stated that the executive producer expressed to Abdul that they would make a formidable power couple. However, Abdul rejected his advances by physically pushing him away and clarifying her lack of interest. Following this interaction, she promptly departed from Lythgoe's residence.

In 2015, during her tenure on "SYTYCD," Abdul reportedly observed an incident in which Lythgoe was accused of inappropriately touching one of her assistants. According to Abdul, Lythgoe supposedly engaged in taunting behavior during a phone call by reminding her that a significant amount of time had passed, specifically seven years, and suggesting that the legal time limit for taking action had expired. Additionally, she claims to have experienced harassment and discrimination throughout her tenure as a judge. Lythgoe, 19 Entertainment, and FremantleMedia North are currently facing a lawsuit that alleges charges of sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, and negligence.


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