Paula Abdul is suing American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance executive producer Nigel Lythgoe for sexual assault.
Abdul, 61, who served as a judge in both competition series, alleges that Lythgoe, 74, assaulted her several times during her tenues. In a court document obtained by TMZ, she wrote that the first attack took place in an elevator during one of Idol’s first seasons.
The singer explained that she was traveling for the regional auditions at the time and she got into an elevator with Lythgoe as she was heading to her hotel room. When the doors closed, he pushed her against the wall, groped her, and attempted to kiss her.
Paula Abdul wrote that she shoved him off of her and ran to her room as soon as the doors opened. She then called one of her reps and told them what had happened. In the end, she decided not to come forward because she worried she’d be fired.
Paula Abdul is Suing Under the California Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act
Another encounter allegedly happened when she signed a contract for SYTYCD, the singer and dancer went to Lythgoe’s home believing she was attending a business meeting. She claims that he tried to force himself on top of her while she was sitting on a couch and proceeded to tell her they’d make an “excellent power couple.” Abdul said she was able to fight him off of her. When she did, she immediately left.
In the documents, Abdul claims that she witnessed Nigel Lithgoe grope one of her assistants in 2015 as well.
Abdul also detailed a phone call with Lythgoe where she says he called and “taunted” her about the assault she had experienced by saying they should celebrate because the “seven years and the statute of limitations had run [out].”
Because the assaults took place in California, Paula Abdul was able to sue under the state’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, which gives victims a specific amount of time to file claims once the criminal statutes lapse.
In all, Paula Abdul is suing Nigel Lythgoe, 19 Entertainment, and FremantleMedia North America for sexual assault and battery, gender violence, negligence, and sexual harassment.
Lythgoe has not commented on the accusations.