Paula Abdul Alleges Sexual Assault and Harassment by ‘American Idol’ Producer
Paula Abdul Alleges Sexual Assault and Harassment, renowned for her Grammy-winning performances and roles as a former judge on “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” has taken legal action against Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer behind these programs. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, reveals distressing claims of sexual assault, harassment, gender violence, and negligence against Lythgoe.
The lawsuit, obtained by CNN, details two distressing incidents that Abdul alleges occurred during the early 2000s and in 2015, respectively.
In the first instance outlined in the complaint, Abdul claims that during regional auditions for “American Idol,” Lythgoe forcibly shoved her against an elevator wall, subsequently groping and kissing her. Abdul vehemently expressed her disapproval, attempting to push Lythgoe away from her, denouncing his behavior as unacceptable.
The second incident mentioned in Abdul’s complaint refers to a 2015 business dinner at Lythgoe’s residence, where she alleges that Lythgoe attempted to force himself on her, trying to kiss her while she was seated on a couch. Abdul rebuffed his advances, reiterating her lack of interest and emphasizing the professional nature of the meeting.
Abdul, citing fear of professional repercussions, did not report either incident at the time. Additionally, she claims to have witnessed Lythgoe assaulting her assistant in a separate 2015 incident.
Responding to the allegations, Lythgoe vehemently denied the claims, labeling them as “false” and “deeply offensive” in a statement to TMZ. He asserted his determination to counter these allegations vigorously.
In her lawsuit, Abdul targets Lythgoe and includes 19 Entertainment Inc., FremantleMedia North America Inc., American Idol Productions Inc., and Dance Nation Productions Inc. as co-defendants. She accuses them of gender violence, sexual harassment, and negligence, claiming they authorized Lythgoe’s actions by failing to supervise him, seeking unspecified punitive damages.
While working on “American Idol,” Abdul alleges facing discriminatory treatment compared to male counterparts, enduring consistent taunts, bullying, humiliation, and harassment.
As a result of these incidents, Abdul claims to suffer from severe emotional distress, anxiety, fear, humiliation, and both physical and emotional injuries. Her legal representative, Douglas L. Johnson, emphasized Abdul’s determination to seek justice, highlighting her stance alongside similar survivors.
Paula Abdul Alleges Sexual Assault and Harassment lawsuit is filed under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, allowing claims of damages resulting from sexual assault outside the statute of limitations.
CNN has reached out to Lythgoe and the named companies for comments, awaiting their responses.