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Nigel Lythgoe Will No Longer Serve as ‘So You Think You Can Dance Judge’ After Sexual Assault Allegations

Nigel Lythgoe is stepping down as judge of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ following sexual assault allegations.

via People:

On Friday, the television producer, 74, told Variety he was stepping down from the long-running series. “I have informed the producers of So You Think You Can Dance of my decision to step back from participating in this year’s series. I did so with a heavy heart but entirely voluntarily because this great program has always been about dance and dancers, and that’s where its focus needs to remain. In the meantime, I am dedicating myself to clearing my name and restoring my reputation.”

In a joint statement shared with PEOPLE, 19 Entertainment, Dick Clark Productions, FOX and the production companies and network of So You Think You Can Dance announced that Lythgoe will no longer be a judge on the competitive dance series following his recent sexual assault allegations.

“19 Entertainment, Dick Clark Productions, and FOX can confirm the upcoming season of So You Think You Can Dance will proceed, although without Nigel Lythgoe, to ensure the show remains committed to the contestants, who have worked incredibly hard for the opportunity to compete on our stage,” they wrote. “No decision has been made as to a replacement judge for this season, which will premiere on FOX on Monday, March 4th.”

While Lythogoe will not be appearing in his usual role as judge in season 18 of SYTYCD, it is unclear if he will be involved in the audition process which takes place in the first few episodes of the season.

On Dec. 30,  Paula Abdul, 61, accused the longtime dance judge of sexually assaulting her on two occasions when they both worked on American Idol in the early 2000s and SYTYCD in 2015.

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According to her lawsuit — which was filed under the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act that allows civil sexual assault suits to be made even if the statute of limitations has expired — Abdul is suing the defendants for sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence.

Shortly after the news broke, Lythgoe responded to her claims and denied all allegations in a statement given to TMZ.

“To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement,” he said. “For more than two decades, Paula and I have interacted as dear, and entirely platonic, friends and colleagues.”

Noting that he learned of Abdul’s accusations “out of the blue” through the press, Lythgoe continued, “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.”

Since then, more people have come forward with new allegations. On Jan. 2, two contestants who competed on the 2003 all-female reality show All American Girl filed a lawsuit against Lythgoe accusing him of negligence, sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

He’s done.




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