Paula Abdul Accuses Lythgoe of Harassment, Unequal Pay, and Industry Complicity
In a shocking revelation, Paula Abdul, renowned singer and reality show judge, has filed a lawsuit accusing Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” of sexual assault and harassment. The lawsuit, filed under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, details two instances of assault and various instances of misconduct spanning her time on both shows.
The suit alleges that during an early season of “American Idol,” Lythgoe assaulted Abdul in an elevator, forcibly groping her breasts and genitals and engaging in unwarranted physical advances. Abdul claims that she immediately fled to her room as soon as the hotel elevator opened. Years later, while on “So You Think You Can Dance,” Lythgoe invited Abdul to his home for dinner under the guise of a professional meeting. However, according to the suit, Lythgoe made unwanted advances, attempting to kiss her and suggesting they could be a “power couple.” Abdul resisted, pushing him away and leaving his residence.
The lawsuit further accuses Lythgoe of verbal harassment and bullying and claims that Abdul was subjected to discrimination, receiving lower pay than her male counterparts on “American Idol.” Additionally, Abdul alleges that the show’s editing intentionally misrepresented her abilities to portray her as incompetent.
Shedding light on the pervasive nature of Lythgoe’s behavior, the lawsuit contends that Abdul witnessed him sexually assaulting one of her assistants in 2015. This incident, along with others, remained undisclosed for years, as Abdul feared the repercussions of challenging a powerful industry figure.
The lawsuit references Lythgoe’s taunts, stating that he once called Abdul, teasing her about the statute of limitations running out on the alleged assaults. Abdul, bound by non-disclosure agreements from her time on both reality shows, claims the agreements were part of a culture that protected powerful figures while silencing survivors of harassment.
Abdul filed the lawsuit against Lythgoe, as well as production companies 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, American Idol Productions, and Dance Nation Productions. The suit accuses these entities of failing to take action against Lythgoe and protecting him from accountability.
The legal action comes under the provisions of California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, which allows for the filing of sexual abuse lawsuits that would otherwise be beyond the statute of limitations. The deadline for filing such cases is December 31, emphasizing the urgency and importance of Abdul’s decision to come forward.