Nigel Lythgoe Announces Departure from ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Amidst Sexual Assault Allegations
Nigel Lythgoe, a longstanding judge on “So You Think You Can Dance,” is facing a seismic shift in his career following allegations of sexual assault. The 74-year-old executive producer of the show has decided to step down from his judging role after two lawsuits surfaced, accusing him of inappropriate behavior.
Nigel Lythgoe Denies Sexual Assault Claims
The day after the assault charges were filed, Lythgoe issued a statement vehemently denying the allegations. Expressing shock and sadness, he emphasized his platonic friendship and professional relationship with Paula Abdul, one of the accusers, spanning over two decades. Lythgoe asserted that the claims were not only false but deeply offensive to him and his principles.
Paula Abdul has sued former ‘American Idol’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ producer Nigel Lythgoe.
She alleges he sexually assaulted her multiple times while she was hosting the shows. pic.twitter.com/stGuKyX3z3
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) December 30, 2023
The Allegations Unveiled
The allegations against Lythgoe are multi-faceted. Paula Abdul, who served as a judge on both “So You Think You Can Dance” and “American Idol,” also produced by Lythgoe, filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act. Abdul claims that about 20 years ago, Lythgoe groped and forcibly kissed her in an elevator. A decade later, he allegedly invited her to his home, where she asserts he forced himself on her, prompting her to resist and flee in both instances.
Nigel Lythgoe responds to Paula Abdul’s sexual assault claims:
“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. But I can promise that I will fight this appalling smear with… pic.twitter.com/k3VP1I6Olp
— Pop Crave (@ PopCrave) December 31, 2023
The lawsuit further alleges verbal harassment, bullying, and gender-based pay disparity, asserting that Abdul received less compensation than her male counterparts on “American Idol.”
In a second lawsuit, two contestants from a show Lythgoe produced, referred to as “All American Girl,” accused him of inappropriate behavior at a wrap party in 2003. The suit claimed that Lythgoe forcibly attempted to kiss them after the event. Notably, this lawsuit did not explicitly identify Lythgoe, the plaintiffs, or the show, using only initials.
Nigel Lythgoe Steps Down Voluntarily
In light of these serious allegations, Lythgoe has voluntarily decided to step back from his role as a judge on the upcoming season of “So You Think You Can Dance.” The 18th season, set to premiere on Fox on March 4, will proceed without him. Allison Holker and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have been announced as judges for the upcoming season.
Nigel Lythgoe exits ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ following sexual assault lawsuit. pic.twitter.com/WJnL5lbjBX
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) January 5, 2024
Ongoing Investigation and Industry Impact
Sony Pictures Television’s 19 Entertainment, co-producers of “So You Think You Can Dance,” have initiated an investigation into Lythgoe’s conduct. Meanwhile, Fox, 19 Entertainment, and Dick Clark Productions issued a joint statement affirming their commitment to the upcoming season and the hardworking contestants, despite Lythgoe’s absence.
Abdul’s Silence Broken
Abdul, who feared repercussions in the industry, finally broke her silence by filing the lawsuit. The legal action not only targets Lythgoe but also implicates 19 Entertainment and other companies, accusing them of protecting Lythgoe and participating in covering up the alleged abuse.
As the dance competition gears up for its new season, the absence of Nigel Lythgoe looms large. The industry and fans alike are left pondering the impact of these serious allegations on one of the most popular dance shows on television.
Nigel Lythgoe denies Paula Abdul’s sexual assault allegations. https://t.co/aVjKGiwfZJ pic.twitter.com/htXWG1A4gT
— E! News (@SpotlightNewz.Com) January 2, 2024