LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) – Singer, dancer and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit against Nigel Lythgoe, claiming the former American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance producer sexually assaulted her twice while she was filming the reality shows. American Idol Productions, Dance Nation Productions, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America are also listed as defendants claiming sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday (December 29) and was obtained by Billboard.
Abdul, 61, alleges that Lythgoe, 74, assaulted her the first time in the elevator of a hotel where they were both staying while traveling for one of Idol’s earlier seasons. The state, date or year of the alleged incident is not listed.
According to court documents obtained by Billboard, Abdul alleges:
Lythgoe shoved Abdul against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts and began shoving his tongue down her throat. Abdul attempted to push Lythgoe away from her and let him know his behavior was not acceptable. When the doors to the elevator for her floor opened, Abdul ran out of the elevator and to her hotel room. In tears, Abdul quickly called one of her representatives to inform them of the assault but ultimately decided not to take action for fear that Lythgoe would have her fired from American Idol.
Abdul’s filing lists the second incident allegedly occurred in 2014 when she was in talks to judge his other show, So You Think You Can Dance. The alleged incident occurred at Lythgoe’s residence, and according to the filing, the details are listed below.
Toward the end of the evening, however, Lythgoe forced himself on top of Abdul while she was seated on his couch and attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent ‘power couple. Abdul pushed Lythgoe off of her, explaining that she was not interested in his advances, and immediately left Lythgoe’s home.
The lawsuit also states that Abdul witnessed him sexually assault one of her assistants in 2015 – he allegedly “pressed himself” against the assistant and began to “grope her” without consent.
Lythgoe said in a statement to The Associated Press that he was “shocked and saddened” to hear of the allegations made by Abdul, whom he said he considered a “dear” and “entirely platonic” friend.
“While Paula’s history of erratic behavior is well-known, I can’t pretend to understand exactly why she would file a lawsuit that she must know is untrue,” Lythgoe said. “But I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”