Paula Abdul Sues ‘American Idol’ Executive For Alleged Sexual Assault

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: Paula Abdul attends L.A. Dance Project Annual Gala on October 16, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Paula Abdul attends L.A. Dance Project Annual Gala on October 16, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
9:00 AM – Saturday, December 30, 2023

Former “American Idol” host Paula Abdul has accused the former producer of the show Nigel Lythgoe of allegedly committing sexual assault against her.


The lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles by Abdul claimed that Lythgoe had sexually assaulted her during one of the beginning seasons of “American Idol” as well as in 2014 while they served as judges on the show “So You Think You Can Dance.” 

Abdul is suing the defendants for sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence. 

Additionally, Abdul claims that Lythgoe committed the first sexual assault against her in a hotel elevator during the audition stages of American Idol’s first seasons. 

“Lythgoe shoved Abdul against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts, and began shoving his tongue down her throat,” the suit claims.

“Abdul attempted to push Lythgoe away from her and let him know that his behavior was not acceptable,” the document adds.

After the alleged incident, the former Los Angeles Lakers dancer said she called one of her representatives telling them what happened. However, she chose not to file a lawsuit at the time because of “fear that Lythgoe would have her fired from American Idol.”

Furthermore, the lawsuit claims the second sexual assault took place at Lythgoe’s home after he invited her for dinner there in 2014.

“Believing this to be a professional invitation, Abdul accepted,” the lawsuit said.

“Toward the end of the evening, 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,’” the suit alleges.

“Abdul pushed Lythgoe off of her, explaining that she was not interested in his advances, and immediately left.”

Abdul again stayed silent of the alleged second assault saying she was fearful of being “blackballed” if she spoke out.

She also claimed that she saw LYthgoew sexually assault one of her assistants in 2015 when they filmed for “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The suit also says that Lythgoe taunted Abdul over the phone about his behavior.

“Lythgoe knew and was aware that his treatment of Abdul was inappropriate and even criminal,” the suit states.

“Indeed at one point Lythgoe called Abdul and taunted her that they should celebrate because it had been ‘seven years and the statute of limitations had run.’ Lythgoe clearly knew that his assaults of Abdul were not just wrong but that he held the power to keep her silent.”

Production companies American Idol Productions, 19 Entertainment, Dance Nation Productions and FremantleMedia North America were also listed as defendants in the suit. 

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