Former “American Idol” Judge Paula Abdul Settles Lawsuit Against The Show

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Why Did Paula Abdul File A Lawsuit Against American Idol?

The lawsuit Paula Abdul filed against American Idol has been settled out of court.

In December 2023, Abdul filed a sexual assault and battery lawsuit against Nigel Lythgoe, the former executive producer on Idol. Abdul served as a judge on the show from its inception in 2002 through 2009.

Abdul alleged that Lythgoe assaulted her on two occasions. First, Abdul accused Lythgoe of assaulting her in an elevator while they were working together on Idol in the early 2000s. She accused him of shoving her against the wall, touching intimate parts of her body, and “shoving his tongue down her throat.”

Abdul alleged that Lythgoe assaulted her a second time in 2015 while they were working together on another show, So You Think You Can Dance. Abdul was a judge on the program, and Lythgoe was an executive producer.

Then, Abdul claims “Lythgoe forced himself on top of [her] while she was seated on his couch and attempted to kiss her.

Lythgoe has denied all of Abdul’s accusations.

Paula Abdul filed a lawsuit against American Idol and its former producer Nigel Lythgoe
Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe at an event in 2016. Photo Credit: Steve Granitz / Getty Images

In addition to suing Lythgoe, Abdul also sued the companies behind American Idol: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, American Idol Productions, and Dance Nation Productions. She claimed these companies failed to discipline Lythgoe and protected him from facing consequences for his alleged actions.

When news about the lawsuit was first reported, the companies had not responded to Abdul’s claims.

The Idol Suit Has Been Settled Out Of Court, But The One Against Lythgoe Will Go To Trial

Then, on April 30, Deadline published a report detailing where Abdul’s lawsuits stand now. According to the outlet, the lawsuit she filed against American Idol‘s production companies was settled out of court.

Deadline wrote: 

‘The parties went to mediation, and the corporate defendants settled out,’ Douglas Johnson informed LASC Judge Thomas Long of the deal reached on March 18 with the O’Melveny & Myers LLP represented companies. Additional defendants 19 Entertainment and Dance Nation Productions also reached an undisclosed agreement with the soon-to-be touring Abdul, who is out on the road with New Kids on the Block this summer.

Specific details about the terms of the settlement between Abdul and Idol were not released. Deadline reported, “There are supposedly some finer points still to be finalized.”

Meanwhile, Abdul’s lawsuit against Lythgoe will go to trial, and a court date has been scheduled for July 28, 2025. Representatives for Lythgoe did not respond to Deadline‘s request for a comment.

Stay tuned for any future developments in this story.

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