Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit accusing ‘American Idol’ producer Nigel Lythgoe of sexually assaulting her on several occasions.
Abdul filed at a Los Angeles courthouse on Friday (December 29). She recalled two incidents where Lythgoe allegedly got physical and forceful with her.
Paula Abdul’s Shocking Claims Against Nigel Lythgoe
Abdul judged the popular talent show from 2002 to 2009 alongside Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell. She detailed an alleged incident where she had shared an elevator with the producer during one of the show’s “initial seasons” in the early 2000s.
When the doors closed, Lythgoe allegedly pushed Abdul up against the wall and “grabbed her genitals and breasts,” her suit claims, per Deadline. He allegedly “shoved his tongue down her throat.”
Paula managed to pull away and shun his behavior before heading to her hotel room and reporting the incident to her representatives. She ultimately chose not to pursue any legal action over fears that Lythgoe would have her fired from ‘Idol.’
The lawsuit states:
“For years, Abdul has remained silent about the sexual assaults and harassment she experienced on account of Lythgoe due to fear of speaking out against one of the most well-known producers of television competition shows who could easily break her career as a television personality and of being ostracized and blackballed by an industry that had a pattern of protecting powerful men and silencing survivors of sexual assault and harassment.”
The FOX talent show was arguably the biggest competition series of its time, catapulting the careers of artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, and Jordin Sparks.
According to PEOPLE, the lawsuit also claims Paula faced discrimination “in terms of compensation and benefits compared to one of the show’s male judges and the host.” She also claims she was the “target of constant taunts, bullying, humiliation, and harassment.”
Another Alleged Sexual Assault Incident Followed
In 2015, Abdul was a judge on ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ another competition series that Lythgoe was executive producing at the time.
The ‘Straight Up’ singer initially thought she had received a “professional invitation” to his home. But upon her arrival, the suit described how Lythgoe “forced himself on top of Abdul while she was seated on his couch and attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent ‘power couple.”
She, again, shoved him away and rejected his advances before leaving his property.
The suit also named Abdul’s former assistant, April, who allegedly suffered a separate incident of sexual assault by Lythgoe in April 2015.
“One evening, Lythgoe approached Abdul and April from behind, pressed himself up against April, and began to grope her. April did not consent,” the lawsuit stated.
Lythgoe has yet to address Paula Abdul or her lawsuit.