The American singer Paula Abdul (61) has sued the star producer and TV judge Nigel Lythgoe (74). She accuses the co-founder of the successful talent shows “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” of sexually harassing her twice. The Grammy and Emmy winner alleges in a lawsuit filed Friday, according to The Rolling Stone, that Lythgoe sexually assaulted her in a hotel elevator. At the time, the two were traveling for a casting for the show as part of the first seasons of “American Idol.” The lawsuit does not name an exact year.
The producer then pushed her against the wall and groped her genitals and breasts. At the same time, he tried to push his tongue into her mouth, the indictment says. The singer fought back and tried to push Lythgoe away. When the elevator door opened, she ran to her hotel room in tears. She would have immediately called one of her people and talked about the incident, but decided not to take any further steps. Paula Abdul was part of the jury in the first eight seasons of the US original “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” from 2002 to 2009, and Lythgoe was its executive producer.
A second attack is said to have occurred in 2014. She was invited to a meal at his house at the time. Abdul only attended because she thought it was a business meeting. During the course of the evening, Lythgoe cuddled up to Abdul, who was sitting on a sofa, and tried to kiss her again. At the same time, he announced to those present that he and Abdul would make a great “power couple”. However, she rejected him again, got up and went home.
In 2015, she also witnessed Lythgoe being abusive towards her assistant April. He also tried to grope her, to which her employee did not consent. Abdul had asked her colleague about his misconduct on the phone, but he was unreasonable. According to Abdul, Lythgoe said in this conversation that he knew his attacks were wrong, but he had the power to silence them.
Abdul also stated that she never spoke publicly about the attacks because she feared revenge from the powerful TV personality. Her contracts stated that she was not allowed to reveal sensitive information about the shows or business matters. Abdul also worked with Nigel Lythgoe on “So You Think You Can Dance”, the US version of the former Sat.1 show “You can dance”. In 2015 and 2016 she even took part as a permanent jury member alongside him as joint jurors.