**Trigger Warning: This story contains details of sexual assault.
Less than a week after being accused of multiple counts of sexual assault by Paula Abdul, Nigel Lythgoe has been hit with new allegations by two former reality show contestants.
As The Ashley told you earlier this week, Paula– who served as a judge on American Idol from 2002 to 2009 and also appeared as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance?– filed a lawsuit against Nigel last week, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by the producer on two different occasions: once during an early season of ‘American Idol’ and a second time while working alongside Nigel on ‘SYTYCD’ between 2015 and 2016.
Nigel has since responded to Paula’s claims, calling them “false” and “deeply offensive to me and to everything I stand for.”
While both ‘American Idol’ and ’SYTYCD’ are mentioned in Paula’s lawsuit, Nigel’s latest allegations stem from his involvement on a different show entirely– the 2003 female reality competition series All American Girl, on which he served as the show’s executive producer.
‘All American Girl’ ran for one season from March to April 2003 and was billed as the “search for America’s most well-rounded woman.” The women competing on the show had to demonstrate their athletic ability, mental agility, talent and beauty in order to stay in the competition, which was voted on via viewer phone-ins. It featured Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell, John Salley and Suzanne de Passe as “coaches.”
The show had very low ratings and was eventually moved to ABC Family so the remaining episodes could play out via a marathon.
According to People, two contestants from the series filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing Nigel (and an unnamed production company) of negligence, sexual assault/battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit alleges that on one occasion, Nigel “walked around the set and dressing rooms and openly swatted and groped Plaintiffs’ and other contestants’ buttocks” while the women were wearing their dance costumes. The two unnamed women also claim that Nigel’s behavior was “openly accepted” as many bore witness to it, but did nothing to “condemn the action or prevent it from happening again.”
Nigel is also accused of making unwanted “sexual advances” towards the two women at his Los Angeles home following a wrap party in 2003, during which he allegedly attempted to kiss one of the women while pushing her body close to his, causing her to “scramble to release herself from his grip.” Later that night, Nigel allegedly pinned the second woman “against a grand piano in the house, pushed himself against her body and forced his mouth and tongue onto her despite her numerous statements telling him not to and attempts to pull her face away from his.”
On Wednesday, TMZ reported that the recent claims have landed Nigel in the center of an internal probe being conducted by Sony Pictures Television, which co-produces of ’SYTYCD’ under the company’s subsidiary 19 Entertainment.
(Paula has also named Sony’s 19 Entertainment as a defendant in her lawsuit, citing allegations of sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and negligence.)
A source told TMZ that Sony is investigating the second of the two allegations Paula made in her lawsuit, which is the incident that allegedly took place during Paula’s time as a judge on ‘SYTYCD.’
In the meantime, a decision has not been made as to whether Nigel will remain an executive producer of ‘SYTYCD’, or if he is still planning to make his return to the competition series as a judge for the upcoming season, which is slated to premiere in March.
Watch a clip of a 2003 episode of ‘All American Girl’ below!
(Photos: FOX; Instagram)