Paula Abdul’s Former ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Co-Judge Nigel Lythgoe Responds To Her Lawsuit Accusing Him Of Sexual Assault: “I Will Fight This Appalling Smear With Everything I Have’
Multi talented entertainer Paula Abdul is suing one of her longtime workplace associates for alleged sexual assault.
The music artist claimed in a recent lawsuit that media exec Nigel Lythgoe “groped and kissed” her without her consent on separate occasions, though he denies the incidents ever happened.
According to reports, Paula Abdul filed her lawsuit in California this past Friday December 29th. Much like New York’s Adult Survivor’s Act, the state reportedly has an active bill called California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, that allows victims of sexual abuse to pursue civil cases against their alleged abusers past the statue of limitations. The deadline for the bill is reportedly today (December 31st). In her suit, 61-year-old Abdul reportedly detailed two incidents where Nigel Lythgoe, 74, was sexually inappropriate with her.
One of the assaults reportedly happened while the pair were on the road for an “American Idol” regional audition. If you recall, Abdul was a judge on the show since its 2002 premiere up until her departure in 2009 while Lythgoe was an executive producer. She reportedly claims that while they were on an elevator together, he groped and kissed her without her permission. Years later, the “Forever Your Girl” songstress alleges he assaulted her again while they two were judges on “So You Think You Can Dance”, which Lythgoe is also credited as a creator of.
Reportedly, she says he invited her over for dinner at his home (sometime between 2015 and 2016 when she was a judge on SYTYCD) and forced himself on top of her. While trying to kiss her, Lythgoe reportedly was exclaiming his belief that the two would ” make an excellent ‘power couple”. Abdul says she never reported her colleague out of fear or professional retaliation. However, she has since been empowered due to California’s efforts to help victims of sexual assault. The music artist is reportedly suing for sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence, adding in the suit that she has suffered severe emotional distress, emotional anguish, fear, anxiety, humiliation, embarrassment and other physical and emotional injuries and damages from the alleged assaults.
As reports of the suit circulated, Lythgoe has since vehemently denied the allegations. In a response statement he reportedly wrote:
“To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement…For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear—and entirely platonic—friends and colleagues. 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.”
“[I] can’t pretend to understand exactly why she would file a lawsuit that she must know is untrue…But I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”
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