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Nigel Lythgoe Denies Paula Abdul’s ‘Despicable’ Sexual Assault Claims in New Filing

Nigel Lythgoe has responded to Paula Abdul’s lawsuit in which she alleges she was sexually assaulted twice by the “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” producer. In new documents filed to the L.A. Superior Court on Tuesday and obtained by Variety, Lythgoe vigorously denies Abdul’s claims, calling them “false, despicable, intolerable and life-changing” and characterizing them as “the worst form of character assassination.”

The filing describes Abdul as a “well-documented fabulist, with a long history of telling wild stories that are untethered from reality and are primarily designed to attract attention and make Abdul appear to be the victim of dreadful misfortune.”

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Included in the documents is a lengthy recounting of Abdul’s previous positive statements about Lythgoe, both from personal correspondence and via social media. “It is unthinkable that Abdul would even tolerate Lythgoe’s physical proximity let alone send him adoring messages and sexually provocative jokes if her allegations were true — which, clearly, they are not,” the filing reads.

It also cites Abdul’s “drug-fueled erratic behavior,” and describes her suit as “a ploy for long-ago lost relevance and fame and/or for unjustified profit ahead of her announced ‘Magic Summer’ 2024 tour.” The filing seeks dismissal of Abdul’s complaint with prejudice.

Abdul filed her lawsuit in December 2023 and alleged that during one of the early seasons of “American Idol,” Lythgoe sexually assaulted her in an elevator, pushed her against a wall, groped her breasts and genitals and put his tongue down her throat. She also claims that when she was a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance” Lythgoe invited her to his home and forced himself on top of her while she was sitting on his couch, attempted to kiss her and said they would make a great “power couple.”

Lythgoe denied the allegations at that time, citing Abdul’s “history of erratic behavior.” Days after Abdul’s filing, Lythgoe was hit with a second sexual assault suit from two contestants on “All American Girl,” a competition show that aired on ABC in 2003.

In January, Lythgoe stepped down as a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance, saying in a statement to Variety, “I did so with a heavy heart but entirely voluntarily because this great program has always been about dance and dancers, and that’s where its focus needs to remain. In the meantime, I am dedicating myself to clearing my name and restoring my reputation.” JoJo Siwa replaced him on the panel for the show’s 18th season.

Abdul is represented by Melissa Eubanks, Neville Johnson and Douglas Johnson. The firm, Johnson & Johnson, has since filed two more lawsuits against Lythgoe, including one on Tuesday, bringing the total to four.

In the latest complaint, a woman identified as Jane Doe alleges that Lythgoe pinned her against a wall and forcibly groped her and licked her neck in 2018. She was able to break free and left his home, according to the suit. The complaint alleges that she and Lythgoe had had a professional relationship for more than a decade prior to the incident, but afterwards Lythgoe terminated the relationship.

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