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Nigel Lythgoe Claps Back At Paula Abdul's Sexual Assault Allegations, Says They're 'Deeply Offensive'

American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has responded to the sexual assault claims made against him by pop performer and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul.

via: People

Lythgoe is denying Paula Abdul’s allegations that he sexually assaulted her.

Earlier this week, Abdul, 61, accused Lythgoe, 74, of multiple counts of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming that he sexually assaulted her on two occasions when they both worked on American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

Now, in a statement to TMZ, Lythgoe responded to Abdul’s claims, telling the outlet, “To say that I am shocked and saddened by the allegations made against me by Paula Abdul is a wild understatement. 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.”

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

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.

The suit 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. have not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

American Idol Productions Inc. is detailed in the suit as a subsidiary of Fremantle, while Dance Nation Productions Inc. is noted to be a subsidiary of 19 Entertainment Inc.

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