Paula Abdul accuses former “American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe of “multiple sexual assaults” and harassment while she was a judge on the show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
According to documents filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Abdul claims she had a strained relationship with “American Idol” producers throughout her time on the show, claiming she was paid less than male judges and that she was subjected to taunts and bullying from the show’s executives. employees.
“During one of the early seasons of American Idol, while on his way to the show’s regional auditions, Lythgoe sexually assaulted Abdul,” according to court documents. “One evening, after the day’s auditions, Lythgoe and Abdul entered the elevator of the hotel where they were staying. Upon entering the elevator, Lythgoe pushed Abdul against the wall, then grabbed his genitals and breasts and started shoving his tongue down her throat.
“Abdul attempted to pull Lythgoe away from her and let him know that his behavior was not acceptable. When the elevator doors to his floor opened, Abdul ran out of the elevator towards his room hotel.”
Representatives for Lythgoe, 74, could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
According to court documents, Abdul, now 61, immediately contacted her representatives and told them what had happened, but she decided “not to take action for fear that Lythgoe would have her fired” from series.
Court documents also claim Abdul signed a contract in 2015 to appear as a judge in another Lythgoe production, “So You Think You Can Dance.” According to the suit, during this time, Abdul accepted what she believed to be a professional invitation to attend a dinner at Lythgoe’s to discuss other career opportunities.
“Toward the end of the evening, however, Lythgoe forced himself on Abdul as she sat on her couch and attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make a great “power couple,” according to the documents “Abdul rejected Lythgoe, explaining that she was not interested in his advances, and immediately left Lythgoe’s house.”
Again fearing retaliation, she did not speak about the incident, according to court documents. Abdul also claims to have seen Lythgoe physically groping one of his assistants.
According to court documents, Abdul remained silent for years “for fear of exposing one of television’s most well-known competition producers who could easily destroy her career as a television personality.” However, she “is no longer willing to remain silent.”
The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges sexual assault, battery, sexual harassment, gender-based violence and negligence.
Besides Lythgoe, the suit also names 19 Entertainment Inc., Fremantle North America, American Idol Productions and Dance Nation Productions.
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