Paula Abdul Sues Idol EP Nigel Lythgoe for Sexual Assault

Must read

Paula Abdul Sues Nigel Lythgoe for Sexual Assault

Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit against her former American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, in which she accuses him of sexually assaulting her during the time they worked together.

The singer-choreographer, who was a judge on the singing competition show from its 2002 debut until 2009, submitted the papers to a Los Angeles court Dec. 29 under the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, which allows most civil suits in sexual assault cases to proceed after the statute of limitations has expired, and whose deadline for filing is Dec. 31.

In her filing, obtained by E! News, Abdul, 61, details two incidents of alleged sexual assault by Lythgoe, 74. E! News has reached out to reps for both and has not heard back.

According to the lawsuit, one of the alleged assaults occurred during one of American Idol‘s initial seasons, while Abdul and Lythgoe were on the road for the show’s regional auditions. It states that while the two were inside a hotel elevator, the producer groped the singer and kissed her without her consent.

Abdul says that she attempted to push him away and tell him his behavior was not acceptable and that she soon ran out and told one of her reps about the incident but “ultimately decided not to take action for fear that Lythgoe would have her fired from American Idol.”

Abdul also alleges in her lawsuit that Lythgoe sexually assaulted her again years later, around the time she worked as one of his co-judges on So You Think You Can Dance, a reality dance competition series he co-created.

The singer, who starred on the show in that capacity between 2015 and 2016, says in her filing that he had invited her to dinner at his home “to discuss other opportunities for the two to work together” and that she accepted the invitation. Abdul alleges that toward the end of the evening, Lythgoe forced himself on top of her while she was seated on his couch and “attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent ‘power couple.'”

Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images for Associated Television International / Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images

Abdul says in her filing she pushed Lythgoe off of her, said she was not interested in his advances, and immediately left his home. She also states that she “feared she would be retaliated against or blackballed if she spoke out about the incident.”

Abdul is suing Lythgoe for sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence. She says she has suffered severe emotional distress, emotional anguish, fear, anxiety, humiliation, embarrassment and other physical and emotional injuries and damages from his alleged actions against her.

She also alleges in her lawsuit that Lythgoe once called her and “taunted her that they should celebrate because it had been ‘seven years and the statute of limitations had run.'” The filing notes, “In light of the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, Abdul is no longer willing to remain silent.”

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App

More articles

Latest article