"To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement. For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear, and entirely platonic, friends and colleagues," the 74-year-old said in a statement to TMZ.
"I want to be clear: not only are they false, they are deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for. ... 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 everything I have," he added, noting he learned of the choreographer's accusations "out of the blue."
As OK! previously reported, Abdul, 61, claimed Lythgoe got handsy with her back in the day.
“Lythgoe shoved Abdul against the wall, then grabbed her genitals and b------, and began shoving his tongue down her throat,” the complaint states. “Abdul attempted to push Lythgoe away from her. When the doors to the elevator for her door opened, Abdul ran out of the elevator and to her hotel room. Abdul quickly called one of her representatives in tears to inform them of the assault.”
In 2014, the "Straight Up" singer was a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, and when Lythgoe invited her to his home for dinner, she thought it would be a professional event.
“Toward the end of the evening, 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,’” Rolling Stone reported the suit said. “Abdul pushed Lythgoe off of her, explaining that she was not interested in his advances and immediately left.”
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Abdul also claimed Lythgoe bullied her and paid her less than her male costars on American Idol.
“For years, Abdul has remained silent about the sexual assaults and harassment she experienced on account of Lythgoe due to fear of speaking out against one of the most well-known producers of television competition shows who could easily break her career as a television personality and of being ostracized and blackballed by an industry that had a pattern of protecting powerful men and silencing survivors of sexual assault and harassment,” the lawsuit states.