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Nigel Lythgoe Denies Paula Abdul Assault Allegations in Statement

The 'American Idol' producer calls claims made in Dec. 29 lawsuit 'an appalling smear.'

Source: MEGA
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Responding to a sexual assault lawsuit filed by pop star Paula Abdul on Dec. 29, TV producer and host Nigel Lythgoe released a statement calling the accusations “false” and “deeply offensive to me and everything I stand for.” Lythgoe was a producer of American Idol and the co-creator and co-host of So You Think You Can Dance, both programs on which Abdul appeared as a judge.

Q reported on the lawsuit on Dec. 29, and reached out to Lythgoe's representatives for comment. On Jan. 1, the producer issued a statement to E! News, saying: "To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement.”

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Source: MEGA

Lythgoe (left) with Paula Abdul and Cat Deeley promoting 'So You Think You Can Dance' in 2015.

"For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear—and entirely platonic—friends and colleagues," Lythgoe continued. "Yesterday, however, out of the blue, I learned of these claims in the press and I want to be clear: not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for.”

Lythgoe’s statement concluded with: ”I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with everything I have."

Abdul’s lawsuit alleges that Lythgoe attempted to force himself on the singer on two separate occasions — once during her tenure on American Idol, and again when she was briefly a judge on So You Think You Can Dance years later — and later groped one of her assistants.

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Source: MEGA

Abdul (right) was the a judge on 'American Idol' during the peak years of the series' popularity.

Abdul’s 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.”

In the suit, Abdul alleges that Lythgoe first assaulted her during an unspecified year early in Idol’s run, allegedly groping her and forcibly kissing her in an elevator. The suit alleges a second incident in 2014, in which the suit claims Lythgoe attempted to forcibly kiss Abdul during a meeting in his home.

The suit also alleges that Lythgoe later taunted Abdul about the incidents: “Lythgoe called Abdul and taunted her that they should celebrate,” the suit claims, “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.”

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Source: MEGA

Lythgoe receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2021.

Lythgoe, 74, spent decades as a dancer and a choreographer, later joining Simon Fuller’s production company 19 Entertainment, where he helped develop and produce the UK series Pop Idol in 2001. He then moved to the US to produce spinoff American Idol, which became a ratings juggernaut for Fox in 2002. Abdul, who notched six US No. 1 singles in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, served as a judge on the series from its inception until 2008. Lythgoe launched So You Think You Can Dance in 2005, also taking an on-camera role as part of the judges panel. Abdul joined the show as a judge from 2015 through 2016.


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