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Paula Abdul's Response to Nigel Lythgoe's "Victim-Shaming" Court Filing Garners Wide Media Coverage

Posted by Johnson & Johnson, LLP | Mar 06, 2024

Rolling Stone covers Paula Abdul's response to Nigel Lythgoe's "victim shaming"

Johnson & Johnson LLP has released a statement regarding Nigel Lythgoe's answer to Paula Abdul's lawsuit against him, in which Mr. Lythgoe "cherry-picks" certain e-mails between himself and Ms. Abdul to engage in "classic victim shaming" that ignores both the broader context of the parties' relationship and the far more representative messages Mr. Lythgoe sent Ms. Abdul during the operative time period. The full statement from Ms. Abdul's counsel, Melissa N. Eubanks, can be found below:

Mr. Lythgoe's answer to Ms. Abdul's complaint is classic victim shaming. Mr. Lythgoe fails to appreciate that he held a position of power over Ms. Abdul. He was a producer on American Idol and she was the talent. He held the cards to her career in his hand and he knew it. It thus is no surprise that Ms. Abdul placated to his ego with positive messaging and seeming adoration. These are the defenses that many women like Ms. Abdul had to adopt to deal with men who abuse their power. 

While Mr. Lythgoe's answer cherry-picks from years of messages with Ms. Abdul to try to discredit her claims, what his selections fail to show are the numerous instances of overt sexual harassment he forced Ms. Abdul to tolerate. On March 8, 2014, Mr. Lythgoe wrote to Ms. Abdul: “When you get back to LA will you please make love to me! Slowly and lovingly!” When Ms. Abdul failed to respond, Mr. Lythgoe proclaimed: “I'll take that as a YES then!” On April 10, 2014, he similarly wrote, in response to a message from Ms. Abdul about SYTYCD auditions in Las Vegas: “I'll come if you promise a big wet kiss! With tongues! Is a small grope of the ass asking too much?” There are several instances of such verbal assaults against Ms. Abdul, which are evidence of the frequent abusive behavior that Ms. Abdul was subjected to during her time on American Idol and SYTYCD. 

Ms. Eubanks' statement has been covered in a wide variety of media outlets, with a representative selection below.

  • Deadline: Paula Abdul Calls Out Nigel Lythgoe For “Classic Victim Shaming” In ‘SYTYCD' Co-Creator's Response To Her Sexual Assault Suit
  • Entertainment Weekly: Paula Abdul calls Nigel Lythgoe's response to her sexual assault allegations 'classic victim shaming'
  • New York Daily News: Paula Abdul slams Nigel Lythgoe for ‘victim shaming' after sexual assault allegations
  • PeoplePaula Abdul Calls Out Nigel Lythgoe's 'Victim-Shaming' After He Declared Sexual Assault Allegations 'Fiction'
  • Radar Online: Paula Abdul Accuses Nigel Lythgoe of 'Victim Shaming' Her by Releasing 'Cherry-Picked' Emails and Messages
  • Rolling Stone: Paula Abdul Fires Back at Nigel Lythgoe, Accuses Him of ‘Classic Victim Shaming'
  • The Wrap: Paula Abdul Slams Nigel Lythgoe's Response to Sexual Assault Suit as ‘Classic Victim Shaming'
  • Yahoo: Paula Abdul Blasts Nigel Lythgoe For ‘Victim Shaming' Her By Sharing Private Emails

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