Nigel Lythgoe Out at ‘So You Suppose You Can Dance’ Amid Intercourse Abuse Fits

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Nigel Lythgoe is stepping down as a choose on “So You Suppose You Can Dance,” after two lawsuits accused him of sexual assault.

Lythgoe, an government producer of the present, is accused of groping and forcibly kissing Paula Abdul in an elevator about 20 years in the past. In a second lawsuit, two contestants on “All American Lady” additionally accused him of forcibly making an attempt to kiss them after a wrap celebration in 2003.

“I’ve knowledgeable the producers of ‘So You Suppose You Can Dance’ of my determination to step again from taking part on this yr’s collection,” Lythgoe mentioned in an announcement to Selection. “I did so with a heavy coronary heart however solely voluntarily as a result of this nice program has all the time been about dance and dancers, and that’s the place its focus wants to stay. Within the meantime, I’m dedicating myself to clearing my identify and restoring my fame.”

Lythgoe, 74, has been a choose on “So You Suppose You Can Dance” because it started in 2005. The 18th season is because of premiere on Fox on March 4. Allison Holker and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have additionally been introduced as judges on the upcoming season.

Sony Footage Tv’s 19 Leisure, which co-produces “So You Suppose You Can Dance,” has opened an investigation of Lythgoe, a supply instructed Selection on Wednesday.

In an announcement, Fox, 19 Leisure and Dick Clark Productions mentioned the upcoming season “will proceed, though with out Nigel Lythgoe, to make sure the present stays dedicated to the contestants, who’ve labored extremely arduous for the chance to compete on our stage.”

“No determination has been made as to a substitute choose for this season, which can premiere on FOX on Monday, March 4th,” the businesses added.

Abdul was a choose on each “So You Suppose You Can Dance” and “American Idol,” which Lythgoe additionally produced. She sued Lythgoe on Dec. 29 below California’s Sexual Abuse and Cowl Up Accountability Act, which revived sure lawsuits that in any other case would have been barred by the statute of limitations.

Abdul alleges that in one of many early seasons of “American Idol,” she and Lythgoe had been touring for the present’s regional auditions and stayed on the identical resort. She alleges that within the elevator, Lythgoe groped her breasts and genitals and forcibly kissed her.

A couple of decade later, she alleges that Lythgoe invited her to his house for dinner and compelled himself on high of her whereas she was sitting on his sofa. In each situations, she resisted and fled, based on her lawsuit.

She additionally alleged that Lythgoe engaged in verbal harassment and bullying, and that she was paid lower than the male judges on “American Idol.”

Lythgoe has adamantly denied Abdul’s allegations, saying in an announcement on Saturday that they’re “false” and “deeply offensive.”

“Whereas Paula’s historical past of erratic conduct is well-known, I can’t faux to know precisely why she would file a lawsuit that she should know is unfaithful,” he mentioned within the assertion on Saturday. “However I can promise that I’ll combat this appalling smear with every thing I’ve.”

Within the second lawsuit, two contestants alleged that Lythgoe as soon as walked on the set of “All American Lady” and swatted and groped the dancers’ buttocks. That go well with didn’t establish Lythgoe, the plaintiffs, or the present by identify, utilizing solely initials as a substitute.

Abdul, who has constructed a second profession as a actuality present choose, mentioned she didn’t converse out sooner as a result of she feared being blackballed by probably the most highly effective males within the business. Her go well with named 19 Leisure and a number of other different firms as defendants, alleging that they protected Lythgoe and acted to cowl up the abuse.

In his assertion, Lythgoe mentioned that he first realized of Abdul’s allegations by studying about them within the press.

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