Grammy-winning artist Paula Abdul has initiated legal action against Nigel Lythgoe, a producer affiliated with “American Idol,” alleging instances of sexual assault. The lawsuit, filed in California, outlines two separate incidents in which Abdul claims to have been assaulted by Lythgoe.
Despite Lythgoe’s denial of the accusations, Abdul’s legal complaint delves into a broader context of alleged discrimination in pay and persistent mistreatment by executives during her tenure as a judge on “American Idol” from 2002 to 2009.
The legal document highlights the seriousness of the allegations, recounting an incident during the early years of “American Idol,” where Abdul asserts Lythgoe assaulted her in a hotel elevator. Another incident is reported to have occurred in 2015, following Abdul’s agreement to serve as a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance.” The lawsuit contends that Abdul’s silence on these matters was motivated by fear of professional repercussions within an industry known for protecting powerful figures.
These accusations surface amid a series of high-profile lawsuits preceding the expiration of a portion of California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act. Abdul’s case adds to a growing number of legal challenges within the entertainment industry, echoing broader societal conversations around abuse, accountability, and the #MeToo movement. Lythgoe, responding to the allegations, expressed shock and denial in an interview with NPR.