Paula Abdul, who starred as a judge on “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” has sued the executive producer of both shows, Nigel Lythgoe, accusing him of sexual assault and harassment, The Washington Post reported. Abdul also sued the production companies behind the programs for gender violence and negligence, per court documents filed Friday.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, outlines two separate incidents: the first took place in the early 2000s, when Abdul was on “American Idol,” and the second took place in 2015, when Abdul was on “So You Think You Can Dance.”
According to the complaint, Abdul alleges that after a day of regional auditions for “American Idol,” she got into an elevator with Lythgoe, who “shoved” her against the wall, “grabbed her genitals and breasts, and began shoving his tongue down her throat.”
“Abdul attempted to push Lythgoe away from her and let him know that his behavior was not acceptable,” the complaint says.
Abdul further alleges that during a business dinner at Lythgoe’s home in 2015, Lythgoe “forced himself” on top of her while she was seated on his couch and “attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent ‘power couple.’” Per the complaint, “Abdul pushed Lythgoe off of her, explaining that she was not interested in his advances, and immediately left Lythgoe’s home.”
Abdul says she chose not to speak out about both incidents at the time because she “feared professional retaliation,” CNN explained. Abdul was a judge on “American Idol” for eight seasons.
In a statement to TMZ, Lythgoe denied the allegations, calling them “false” and “deeply offensive.”