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Nigel Lythgoe says Paula Abdul’s allegations of sexual assault against him are “false” and “deeply offensive”.

Abdul claims the producer sexually harassed her twice



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<p>Rodin Eckenroth/Getty, Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty </p>
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Rodin Eckenroth/Getty, Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty

Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul

Nigel Lythgoe denies Paula Abdul’s allegations that he sexually abused her.

Earlier this week, Abdul, 61, accused Lythgoe, 74, of multiple sexual assaults in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming he sexually assaulted her twice while they were both at a American Idol And So you think you can dance.

In a statement to TMZ, Lythgoe responded to Abdul’s claims, telling the newspaper: “To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a gross understatement. Paula and I have been close and purely platonic friends and colleagues for more than two decades.”

Noting that he learned of Abdul’s allegations “out of the blue” through the press, Lythgoe continued, “I want to be clear: They are not only false, they are a deep insult to me and everything I stand for. … I can’t pretend to understand exactly why she would file a lawsuit that she must know is not true. But I can promise that I will fight this horrific slander with everything at my disposal.”

A representative for Lythgoe did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Mike Windle/Getty

Paula Abdul, Nigel Lythgoe.

Related: Paula Abdul sues American Idol, Subscribe to Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe on suspicion of sexual assault

According to her lawsuit – filed under the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, which allows civil lawsuits for sexual assault to proceed even after the statute of limitations has expired – Abdul is suing the defendants for sexual assault/assault, sexual harassment, gender-based violence and negligence.

The lawsuit names Lythgoe, 19 Entertainment Inc., FremantleMedia North America Inc., American Idol Productions Inc. and Dance Nation Productions Inc. as defendants.

19 Entertainment Inc. and FremantleMedia North America Inc. did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

American Idol Productions Inc. is listed in the lawsuit as a subsidiary of Fremantle, while Dance Nation Productions Inc. is a subsidiary of 19 Entertainment Inc.



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<p>Steve Granitz/WireImage;  Paul Archuleta/Getty</p>
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Steve Granitz/WireImage; Paul Archuleta/Getty

Paula Abdul, Nigel Lythgoe.

According to Abdul’s lawsuit, the first incident involving Lythgoe allegedly occurred in the early 2000s when both were Idol. The lawsuit alleges that Lythgoe Abdul, who was a judge on the show between 2002 and 2009, was “en route to the regional audition” during one of the idol‘s first seasons.

The lawsuit alleges that Lythgoe pushed Abdul against the wall as she entered an elevator, then grabbed her genitals and breasts and began shoving his tongue down her throat.

“Abdul attempted to push Lythgoe away from her and let him know that his behavior was unacceptable,” the document continues.

After the alleged attack, a crying Abdul called one of her representatives and informed him of what she said had happened, according to the lawsuit. However, she decided not to take action “for fear that Lythgoe would have her fired.” American Idol.”

Abdul also claims she was “discriminated against in terms of pay and benefits compared to one of the male judges and the show’s host” and was “the target of constant teasing, bullying, humiliation and harassment” during her time on the show.



<p>Steve Granitz/WireImage</p>
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Steve Granitz/WireImage

Paula Abdul, Nigel Lythgoe.

Related: Paula Abdul Says She’s ‘Only Scratched the Surface’ of Her Life: ‘I’m the Renaissance Queen’ (Exclusive)

The second assault, according to the lawsuit, occurred in 2015 when Abdul was a judge in Subscribe to.

During a dinner at Lythgoe’s home, which the singer attended “under the belief that it was a professional invitation,” Lythgoe allegedly “forced himself on Abdul while she was sitting on his sofa and attempted to kiss her while proclaiming that the two would make an excellent ‘power couple,'” the lawsuit states.

The document states that Abdul “pushed Lythgoe away, stating that she was not interested in his advances,” and then left his property.

The lawsuit also describes an alleged assault that Abdul witnessed and that Lythgoe committed against an assistant of the “Straight Up” singer, named April in the documents, and the incident allegedly took place in April 2015.

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