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Paula Abdul Calls Out Nigel Lythgoe's 'Victim-Shaming' After He Declared Sexual Assault Allegations 'Fiction'

The 'American Idol' alum and the ex-'So You Think You Can Dance' judge have been in a war of words since she — along with multiple other women — sued him for alleged sexual assault, which he denies

<p>Leon Bennett/Getty; Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe

Leon Bennett/Getty; Kevin Winter/Getty

Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe

Paula Abdul has addressed Nigel Lythgoe's formal response to her sexual assault allegations against him.

In documents obtained by PEOPLE on Tuesday, Lythgoe, 74, filed a response denying his former costar's allegations and claimed the accusations were "despicable, intolerable and life-changing."

On Dec. 30, 2023, Abdul, 61, accused the longtime So You Think You Can Dance judge of sexually assaulting her on two occasions when they both worked on American Idol in the early 2000s and SYTYCD in 2015.

Claiming that the allegations have been the "worst form of character assassination" of Lythgoe and "pure fiction," the filing called Abdul "a well-documented fabulist" who has a history of "telling wild stories that are untethered from reality." The documents further alleged that Abdul used these stories to attract attention to herself and make her appear as a "victim of dreadful misfortune."

Related: Nigel Lythgoe Says Paula Abdul's Sexual Assault Allegations Against Him Are 'False' and 'Deeply Offensive'

<p>Mike Windle/Getty</p> Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe

Mike Windle/Getty

Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe

"Lythgoe did not harass, bully, or sexually abuse Abdul," the filing continued before citing examples of Abdul's emails and social media posts shared during the time of the alleged assaults as proof of how she "really felt about Lythgoe, her friend and colleague."

The documents noted instances where Abdul addressed Lythgoe as "sweetheart" and wrote she was "forever grateful" for their friendship. In one email, the singer wrote "I love your guts!!!" while congratulating Lythgoe on a life event. In another instance, Abdul thanked Lythgoe for sending flowers and spending time with her on her birthday.

In his filing, Lythgoe requested the court to dismiss the complaint "in its entirety with prejudice" and that "Abdul takes nothing by way of her complaint." He also asked that his legal fees be recovered and the court provide "other and further relief" it deems as "just and proper."

Related: Nigel Lythgoe Will No Longer Serve as 'So You Think You Can Dance Judge' After Sexual Assault Allegations

<p>FOX Image Collection via Getty</p> Nigel Lythgoe and Paula Abdul on 'So You Think You Can Dance'

FOX Image Collection via Getty

Nigel Lythgoe and Paula Abdul on 'So You Think You Can Dance'

On Wednesday, Abdul's lawyer Melissa Eubanks shared a statement with PEOPLE that called Lythgoe's response to her client's complaint an instance of "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 SYTYCD and she was the talent," she began. "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."

The statement went on to claim that Lythgoe's answer "cherry-picks" from years of message exchanges with Abdul in an effort to "discredit her claims."

"What his selections fail to show are the numerous instances of overt sexual harassment he forced Ms. Abdul to tolerate," she stated before noting examples from conversations that date back to 2014.

Related: JoJo Siwa to Replace Nigel Lythgoe on So You Think You Can Dance After Sexual Assault Allegations

It concluded, "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."

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Since Abdul's initial allegations, more people have come forward with allegations regarding Lythgoe's behavior. 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.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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