Paula Abdul Sues Former American Idol Producer for Assault

LOS ANGELES, CA — Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit accusing Nigel Lythgoe, former executive producer of “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” of multiple counts of sexual assault. The lawsuit, filed by Abdul in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday, alleges that Lythgoe sexually assaulted her on two occasions, once during the early seasons of “American Idol” and once during her time on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Abdul also claims that Lythgoe sexually assaulted her assistant.

Abdul is suing Lythgoe, along with 19 Entertainment Inc., FremantleMedia North America Inc., American Idol Productions Inc., and Dance Nation Productions Inc., for sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, and negligence. The lawsuit is filed under the Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, allowing civil sexual assault suits to be pursued even after the statute of limitations has expired.

According to court documents, the first incident allegedly occurred in the early 2000s when Abdul and Lythgoe worked on “American Idol.” The suit claims that Lythgoe sexually assaulted Abdul while on the road for regional auditions during one of the show’s early seasons. The document states that Lythgoe shoved Abdul against a wall, grabbed her genitals and breasts, and forcefully kissed her. Abdul called one of her representatives following the assault but did not take action out of fear that Lythgoe would have her fired from the show.

The second assault, as detailed in the suit, allegedly occurred in 2015 while Abdul was a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance.” During a dinner at Lythgoe’s home, Lythgoe reportedly forced himself on top of Abdul and attempted to kiss her while claiming they would make an excellent “power couple.” Abdul pushed him off and left the property.

The lawsuit also describes an alleged assault witnessed by Abdul, where Lythgoe groped her assistant without consent in April 2015.

Representatives for Lythgoe, Abdul, and the other defendants named in the lawsuit have not yet responded to requests for comment.

Paula Abdul, a Grammy-winning singer and former judge on “American Idol,” recently turned 60. She spoke about her new decade earlier this year, saying she wanted to build a legacy of kindness and support and help others overcome bullies.