Nigel Lythgoe Responds to Paula Abdul’s Sexual Assault Claims

American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance producer Nigel Lythgoe has responded to sexual assault claims made against him by Paula Abdul in a recent lawsuit.

Last week, Abdul alleged that Lythgoe assaulted her on two separate occasions, once in the early years of her time on American Idol in an elevator. She also claims he attacked her again in 2015, during a meeting for So You Think You Can Dance. Abdul’s lawsuit against Lythgoe and other producers also claim that she was relentlessly mocked and underpaid during her time on Idol.

In a statement to Deadline, Lythgoe denied any wrongdoing, saying that Abdul was trying to “smear” his name and saying he was shocked by the whole thing.

Lythgoe takes personal shot at Abdul

“To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement,” Lythgoe said. “For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear – and entirely platonic – friends and colleagues. Yesterday, however, out of the blue, I learned of these claims in the press and I want to be clear: not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for.”

Lythgoe went an extra step further, attacking Abdul personally and saying that she had a history of “erratic behavior,” and saying he would fight the matter.

“While Paula’s history of erratic behavior is well known, I can’t pretend to understand exactly why she would file a lawsuit that she must know is untrue,” said Lythgoe. “But I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with everything I have.”