LOS ANGELES - Paula Abdul is accusing former "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe of "multiple sexual assaults" and harassment while she worked as a judge on the show, according to court papers filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court Friday.
According to the lawsuit, one of the alleged assaults occurred during one of the show's initial seasons while on the road for "American Idol's" regional auditions.
"Lythgoe and Abdul entered the elevator of the hotel where they were staying," allege court papers, initially obtained by TMZ. "Upon entering the elevator, Lythgoe shoved Abdul against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and breasts and began shoving his tongue down her throat."
Abdul allegedly attempted to push Lythgoe off her. When the doors to the elevator opened, she ran to her hotel room, court documents said.
While court papers state that Abdul immediately contacted her representatives and informed them of the incident, she said she ultimately decided not to take action at that time, out of fear that Lythgoe "would have her fired" from the show.
Representatives for Lythgoe could not yet be reached.
Following the alleged assault, court papers show that Abdul signed a contract in 2015 to appear as a judge on another one of Lythgoe's productions, "So You Think You Can Dance." During this time working together, Abdul alleges another assault occurred when she accepted what she believed to be a professional invitation to attend dinner at Lythgoe's home.
JUDGES: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: Resident judges Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE airing Monday, September 7 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape delayed) on FOX.(Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images)
According to court papers, Lythgoe "forced himself on top of Abdul while she was seated on his couch and attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent power couple."
Again fearing retaliation, Abdul says she did not speak out about the incident. In court papers, Abdul alleged that she also witnessed the now 74-year-old physically grope one of her female assistants.
In court papers, Abdul claims that Lythgoe "taunted" her, by calling and saying they should celebrate because it had been "7 years" since the alleged assaults and that "the statute of limitations had run" out, TMZ reports.
Abdul is best known for her work as a singer, dancer and choreographer. The now 61-year-old famously choreographed music videos for Janet Jackson at the beginning of her career, before moving on to release her own music, including "Opposites Attract," "Cold Hearted" and "Forever Your Girl." She was one of the original three judges on the popular singing competition show "American Idol," where she worked alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson from 2002 to 2009.
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Abdul alleges in court papers that she had a strained relationship with the "American Idol" producers throughout her time on the show, contending that she was paid less than the male judges, and subjected to taunts and bullying by show executives and employees.
In addition to Lythgoe, the suit also names 19 Entertainment Inc., Fremantle North America, American Idol Productions and Dance Nation Productions.
The suit seeks unspecified damages and alleges sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence.
Abdul said she's coming forward now due to California's Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, which gives plaintiffs a larger window to file claims that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations, TMZ reports.