Days after being accused of sexual assault by Paula Abdul and two other women, Nigel Lythgoe is out as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance.
“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,” Lythgoe said in a statement first obtained by Variety.
“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.”
The show, which Lythgoe co-created and produced, begins its 18th season on March 4. He will not be credited as a producer on this season, and no replacement judge has been announced.
In a statement the show said it “remains committed to the contestants, who have worked incredibly hard for the opportunity to compete on our stage.”
Abdul, 61, filed suit against Lythgoe, 74, this week under the California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, which gave accusers a one-year window to press claims beyond the statute of limitations.
She claimed he sexually harassed her, groped her, and made unwanted passes while she served as a judge with him on American Idol and SYTYCD.
“Lythgoe knew and was aware that his treatment of Abdul was inappropriate and even criminal,” the suit alleges.
Lythgoe denied the allegations—and then was hit with a lawsuit by two former contestants on the reality TV show All American Girl who say he sexually assaulted them in 2srcsrc3.