Paula Abdul’s Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Nigel Lythgoe: Updates

American Idol fans were shocked when Paula Abdul filed a lawsuit against supposed friend and producer Nigel Lythgoe at the end of 2023.

For understandable and very troubling reasons.

The legal papers filed on December 29 alleged that former the American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance producer of allegedly sexually assaulting the veteran singer on multiple occasions, with the initial incident allegedly taking place amid “one of Idol’s early seasons.”

Paula Abdul in 2023
Paula Abdul attends “How To Dance In Ohio” Broadway Opening Night at Belasco Theatre on December 10, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Since Abdul made the accusations, two more woman have come forward to file similar complaints against Lythegoe. Who are these women? What does Abdul say actually happened? And how has Lythgoe responded? Here’s what we know.

Paula Abdul’s Lawsuit & Sexual Assault Allegations Against Nigel Lythgoe

The legendary choreographer filed her lawsuit against Lythgoe on Friday, December 29 2023, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by Nigel on two different occasions — once during the Idol years and the other in 2014 when both she and Lythgoe were judges on So You Think You Can Dance.

The documents also state that Lythgoe “verbally insulated and belittled” Abdul during their many years working together.

As for the details surrounding this allegation?

Abdul claims she and Lythgoe got into an elevator at their hotel prior to the first supposed assault… and after the doors closed, the latter shoved her against the wall, grabbed her genitals and breasts and tried to tongue-kiss her.

Paula Abdul picture
Paula Abdul attends the 91st anniversary of the Hollywood Christmas Parade, supporting Marine Toys For Tots on November 26, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Associated Television International)

Abdul says she pushed Lythgoe away and ran to her room.

She adds that she immediately called one of her reps to tell him what had transpired, but decided to keep it quiet at the time out of fear of retailiation.

Regarding the second alleged assault… Abdul claims she went over to Lythgoe’s house after signing on to judge So You Think You Can Dance because she figured the executive wanted to talk about her role on the show.

At some point, she says Lythgoe forced himself on top of her and tried to convince her they’d made a great “power couple.”

Nigel Lythgoe picture
Nigel Lythgoe attends the American Ballet Theatre’s Holiday Benefit at The Beverly Hilton on December 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for American Ballet Theatre)

Abdul is suing Lythgoe, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America for sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence. At this time, she has not made a formal, public statement on the matter.

Nigel Lythgoe Sued by Two More Women After Paula Abdul’s Complaint

Less than a week after Abdul filed her lawsuit, two more women came forward to accuse Lythgoe of sexual assault and battery.

Their suit was filed anonymously, with the women insisting on being identified as Jane Does. What they did reveals was that they were both contestants on the all-female reality competition show All American Girl, which was produced by Lythgoe and aired for one season in 2003.

The women are suing Lythgoe , as well as his unnamed production company, for sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, according to TMZ’s reporting.

The women allege that Lythgoe “walked around the set and dressing rooms and openly swatted and groped [their] and other contestants’ buttocks” .

They also claim in the filing that “employees, contractors, representatives and agents saw this happen but did not act in any manner to condemn the action or prevent it from happening again. It was openly accepted.”

paula abdul nigel lawsuit
 Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe attend the 2013 amfAR Inspiration Gala Los Angeles at Milk Studios on December 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. ((Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images))

Nigel Lythgoe Responds To Paula Abdul’s Lawsuit

“To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement,” Nigel Lythgoe’s statement read to Page Six.

On the Saturday after Abdul’s lawsuit came to light, Lythgoe responded vehemently denying the allegations.

“For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear — and entirely platonic — friends and colleagues,” he continued. “Yesterday, however, out of the blue, I learned of these claims in the press and I want to be clear: not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for.”

Lythgoe then pointed the finger back at Abdul, making a wild claim of his own concerning her “behavior”.

“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,” he added. “But I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”

Lythgoe produced American Idol during the peak of the show’s popularity in the 2000s and was last listed as a producer for the talent-based singing program in 2014.

From 2005 to 2014, he was listed as the producer and co-creator of So You Think You Can Dance.

Aside from her impressive singing career, Abdul was one of the original judges on American Idol from 2002 to 2009.

She has since appeared as a panelist on The X Factor, Live to Dance, So You Think You Can Dance and The Masked Dancer.

Nigel Provides ‘Evidence’ Of Relationship With Paula

By March 2024, Nigel worked hard to clear his name. He hoped to prove he had a loving relationship with Paula for years and that he was not capable of the things she’s accusing him of.

According to TMZ, new legal docs on March 5, Nigel took aim at his former friend and coworker. In the docs, he called her a “well-documented fabulist, with a long history of telling wild stories that are untethered from reality and are primarily designed to attract attention and make Abdul appear to be the victim of dreadful misfortune.”

From there, he produced multiple email and text exchanges between them, all showing Paula praising Nigel for his kindness. An example for a Sept. 12, 2014 email reads in part, “Hi sweetheart — thank you for this lovely ‘gift.’ Please forgive me for not calling yesterday. Forever grateful to have you in my life! Love, love LOVE YOU! XO P.”

After these documents were made public, Paula through her attorney, telling Deadline:

“Mr. Lythgoe’s answer to Ms. Abdul’s complaint is classic victim shaming. These are the defenses that many women like Ms. Abdul had to adopt to deal with men who abuse their power.”

Leave a Comment