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Paula Abdul Files Lawsuit Accusing Nigel Lythgoe of Sexual Assault

Published December 31, 2023
7 months ago

In a move that sets the entertainment industry abuzz, singer and former reality show judge Paula Abdul has taken legal action against Nigel Lythgoe, charging the esteemed producer with sexual assault. Abdul, who reached fame in the 80s and later became known for her role in popular television reality competitions, claims in her lawsuit that she was attacked by Lythgoe on two separate occasions, years apart, during her tenures on "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

These serious allegations have rekindled conversations about abuse of power in the entertainment sphere. According to details from the suit, the first alleged incident transpired in an elevator during the early seasons of "American Idol," where Abdul was purportedly assaulted in a physical manner. The second incident reportedly occurred at Lythgoe's home under the guise of a professional dinner, where Abdul experienced another alleged assault.

In addition to the sexual assault claims, Abdul's suit accuses Lythgoe of verbal harassment, bullying, and discriminatory treatment, including being paid less than her male peers on "American Idol." The lawsuit is also critical of the show's editing techniques, which Abdul suggests were manipulated to portray her unfavorably.

The revelation of these allegations represents Abdul's break from years of silence, which she attributes to the industry's long-standing culture of silencing victims and protecting powerful figureheads. Additionally, the lawsuit addresses a secondary assault incident involving one of Abdul's assistants and Lythgoe, further painting a picture of an environment fraught with harassment.

Nigel Lythgoe, a name synonymous with the success of both "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," has categorically denied all allegations, expressing shock and disappointment at the accusations leveled against him. He cites his longstanding professional relationship with Abdul, emphasizing its platonic nature and challenging the credibility of her claims.

The case hinges on California's Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, providing a one-year window for filing sexual abuse lawsuits that might otherwise be null due to statute limitations. Abdul's inclusion of 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, American Idol Productions, and Dance Nation Productions highlights her assertion that these companies failed in their duty of care towards employees by not disciplining Lythgoe and shielding him from consequences.

The lawsuit hails as a courageous step in the fight against sexual misconduct, aiming to hold perpetuators and complicit structures accountable. The legal battle that looms is more than an individual claim—it stands as a symbol for countless untold stories, as Paula Abdul joins the voices advocating for change and the protection of assault survivors within the industry.

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