Paula Abdul Alleges Sexual Assault by ‘American Idol’ Producer Nigel Lythgoe

Nigel Lythgoe Paula Abdul

In a shocking turn of events, former ‘American Idol’ judge Paula Abdul has filed a lawsuit against Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of ‘American Idol’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ accusing him of sexual assault. The allegations span from the early 2000s during ‘American Idol’ to a more recent incident in 2015, revealing a disturbing pattern of behavior. Let’s delve into the details of this legal battle that has left the entertainment industry in disbelief.

Paula Abdul Accuses ‘American Idol’ Producer Nigel Lythgoe of Sexual Assault

Paula Abdul, renowned for her rise to stardom in the late 80s and subsequent career as a reality show judge, dropped a legal bombshell on Friday. She filed a lawsuit against Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer behind some of television’s biggest competition shows, alleging not only sexual assault but also discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

The Allegations

According to the lawsuit, Abdul claims that during the early seasons of ‘American Idol,’ Lythgoe sexually assaulted her in a hotel elevator. The disturbing incident involved Lythgoe allegedly shoving her against a wall, groping her breasts and genitals, and forcefully kissing her. Abdul, in an attempt to escape, ran to her room as soon as the elevator doors opened.

In a separate incident years later, while working on ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ Lythgoe invited Abdul to his home under the guise of a professional meeting. However, the suit details how he allegedly forced himself on her, attempting to kiss her and suggesting they could be a “power couple.” Abdul once again pushed him away and fled his residence.

Verbal Harassment and Discrimination

The lawsuit extends beyond physical assault, accusing Lythgoe of verbal harassment and discrimination. Abdul claims she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts on ‘American Idol,’ citing a toxic work environment where she faced constant taunts, bullying, humiliation, and harassment.

Furthermore, the suit alleges that the show’s producers edited footage to mislead audiences, portraying Abdul as inept, all while being aware of her undergoing multiple spinal surgeries during her time on the show.

Fear of Speaking Out

The court documents highlight Abdul’s years of silence, attributing it to fear of retaliation from one of the industry’s most influential producers. The lawsuit contends that Lythgoe’s behavior was common knowledge, pointing to a MADtv parody where he was depicted harassing contestants.

The fear of speaking out against powerful individuals and the industry’s pattern of protecting them, as well as the fear of being ostracized, kept Abdul silent until now.

Legal Strategy

Abdul filed the lawsuit under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, utilizing a one-year window to address sexual abuse lawsuits that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations. This legal maneuver signifies Abdul’s determination to seek justice within the confines of the law.

Industry Complicity

The lawsuit doesn’t solely target Lythgoe; it also implicates 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, American Idol Productions, and Dance Nation Productions. Abdul alleges these entities failed to take disciplinary action against Lythgoe and protected him from accountability.


The entertainment industry is grappling with the shocking allegations brought forth by Paula Abdul against Nigel Lythgoe. As the legal battle unfolds, it not only raises questions about the prevalence of such behavior within the industry but also underscores the importance of holding powerful individuals accountable. Abdul’s courage to speak out against years of alleged abuse may set a precedent for others who have endured similar experiences. As the legal proceedings progress, the world watches, hoping for justice to prevail in this disturbing chapter of television history.

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