Paula Abdul is suing former “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” producer Nigel Lythgoe for alleged sexual assault. Filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the suit was obtained by multiple media outlets and detailed several incidents.
The pop singer, who was one of the original “Idol” judges from 2002 to 2009, claimed Lythgoe sexually assaulted her once during the show’s early seasons. He allegedly did so again during Abdul’s tenure on “Dance,” which spanned 24 episodes between 2013 and 2016.
Abdul also claimed Lythgoe sexually assaulted her assistant and named FremantleMedia North America Inc. and its subsidiary American Idol Productions Inc., as well as 19 Entertainment Inc. and its subsidiary Dance Nation Productions Inc., as co-defendants.
The defendants were accused under the Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, which allows sexual assault victims to sue, even after the statute of limitations has expired, of sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence.
Abdul claimed Lythgoe “verbally insulted and belittled her” in a meeting about the “Idol” job in 2001 and called her a “has been.” The suit alleges Abdul was paid less than her male peers and was sexually assaulted a few years into the job.
The first incident reportedly occurred at a hotel “while on the road” to audition contestants.
“Lythgoe shoved Abdul against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts, and began shoving his tongue down her throat,” stated the lawsuit, which Rolling Stone reviewed. “Abdul attempted to push Lythgoe away from her.”
The filing stated, “When the doors to the elevator opened, Abdul ran out of the elevator and to her hotel room. Abdul quickly called one of her representatives in tears to inform them of the assault.”
The second incident occurred in 2015 while Abdul was a judge on “Dance,” after Lythgoe invited Abdul to his home for what she believed was “a professional invitation,” according to the suit. Lythgoe “forced himself on top” of Abdul and “attempted to kiss her,” the filing claimed.
He then allegedly said, “The two would make an excellent ‘power couple.’”
Abdul claimed Lythgoe groped her assistant, identified in the suit only as April, that same year. Abdul said she didn’t speak out about these incidents for fear of retaliation and that Lythgoe called her to celebrate “seven years after the statute of limitations had run.”
Representatives for Lythgoe did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, which offers a three-year window for survivors to file claims that would otherwise be excluded due to the statutes of limitations, officially became law in January 2023.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.