Singer and TV judge has accused producer of sexual assault.
After soaring to fame in the 1980s with her music career, in 2002, Abdul joined American Idol as one of the original judges alongside media mogul and record executive .
She has since leant her entertainment expertise to the judging panels of programmes including The , So You Think You Can Dance and .
According to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Friday December 29, the 61-year-old has alleged that Lythgoe, 74, sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, including in a hotel elevator while she was working on American Idol in the early 2000s.
He has yet to comment on the claims.
The suit, which was reviewed by , reportedly listed Lythgoe and the companies American Idol Productions, Dance Nation Productions, 19 Entertainment and Fremantlemedia North America as defendants, with the ‘listed causes of action’ being ‘sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, and negligence’.
Lythgoe’s IMDb page states that he produced American Idol from 2002 until 2014, and So You Think You Can Dance from 2005 to 2014.
Abdul alleged that before she officially joined American Idol as a judge, Lythgoe ‘verbally insulted and belittled’ her in a meeting with executives of the show.
The suit claimed that she was paid less than the male judges on the programme, and that during one of the ‘initial seasons’ of the competition, Lythgoe sexually assaulted her in an elevator of a hotel that they were staying at while travelling to auditions.
‘Lythgoe shoved Abdul against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts, and began shoving his tongue down her throat,’ the suit said, Rolling Stone reported.
‘Abdul attempted to push Lythgoe away from her. When the doors to the elevator for her door opened, Abdul ran out of the elevator and to her hotel room. Abdul quickly called one of her representatives in tears to inform them of the assault.’
The suit claimed that in 2014, Lythgoe ‘forced himself on top of Abdul while she was seated on his couch’ at his home, after she believed she had been invited over for dinner through a ‘professional invitation’.
It alleged that he ‘attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent “power couple”’.
Abdul is said to have ‘pushed Lythgoe off of her’, leaving his home straight away after making it clear that she wasn’t interested.
The Cold Hearted singer reportedly did not speak out publicly over the allegations of sexual assault against Lythgoe due to the fear that he could retaliate and potentially fire her from her TV judging jobs.
The suit claimed that Abdul’s contracts on American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance ‘prohibited’ her ‘from publicly disclosing sensitive information’.
It also included an allegation from Abdul and she witnessed Lythgoe sexually assaulting one of her assistants, by ‘pressing himself up’ and ‘groping’ her.
Abdul is said to have filed her lawsuit suit under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, reported.
The law provides survivors of sexual assault with a window where they can file a claim, which would have otherwise been prevented by the statute of limitations.
According to her suit, Lythgoe once ‘taunted’ her about the fact that ‘the statute of limitations had run’, claiming that he ‘knew and was aware that his treatment of Abdul was inappropriate and even criminal’.
Metro.co.uk has contacted representatives of Nigel Lythgoe and Fremantle North America, which produces American Idol, for comment.