Paula Abdul Slams Nigel Lythgoe’s Response to Sexual Assault Suit as ‘Classic Victim Shaming’

Paul Abdul slammed Nigel Lythgoe’s Tuesday response to her sexual assault lawsuit against him as “classic victim shaming” a statement from her legal team on Wednesday.

The former “American Idol” judge sued reality TV producer Lythgoe on Dec. 30, alleging he assaulted her on two separate occasions when they worked together on the singing competition series and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

“Mr. Lythgoe’s answer to Ms. Abdul’s complaint is classic victim shaming,” the statement on behalf of Abdul from Johnson & Johnson, LLP read. The statement continued, saying that the power dynamic between Lythgoe as a producer and Abdul as an employee of the series cannot be discounted in his claims of “character assassination.”

“He held the cards to her career in his hand and he knew it,” the statement read, arguing that the flattering texts Lythgoe publicized in Tuesday’s court filing were reflective of that imbalance. “It thus is no surprise that Ms. Abdul placated to his ego with positive messaging and seeming adoration. These are the defenses that many women like Ms. Abdul had to adopt to deal with men who abuse their power.”

In addition to Abdul’s statement, she also shared sexually aggressive text messages she said Lythgoe sent her on in 2014.

“When you get back to L.A. will you please make love to me! Slowly and lovingly!” one of the messages reads. After getting no response from Abdul, Lythgoe came back saying, “I’ll take that as a yes then!”

That same year, Lythgoe wrote Abdul asking for a “big wet kiss” with “tongues.” At another point, Lythgoe acknowledged his misconduct, mentioning that she loves him “like a relation I love you like a girlfriend,” adding that he could “easily be your f–king cousin.”

Abdul’s Wednesday statement came in response to Lythgoe’s own filing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, in which he characterized the pop star and reality TV figure as exhibiting “drug-fueled erratic behavior.”

“Unfortunately for Lythgoe, today’s climate has turned the statutory presumption of innocence until proven guilty on its head. In a matter of minutes, Abdul’s false allegations had a life-changing impact on Lythgoe,” the filing, which sought to dismiss the lawsuit, read. “With little-to-no regard for the truth, without a fair trial, and without Lythgoe having an opportunity to tell his side of the story, and prove the falsity of hers, his life, the lives of his loved ones and his reputation suffered substantial damage.”

Abdul accused Lythgoe of assaulting her in an elevator in the hotel she was staying at while on the road with Lythgoe for “American Idol.” The incident allegedly took place in the early 2000s. She said the second instance happened in 2015 when she was asked to be a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Lythgoe is currently facing four sexual assault lawsuits that were filed against him since the new year.

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