Like the Stuff of a Novel, Scandal Rips at Nobel Body

Streetview of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm

Streetview of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm

The former Secretary Horace Engdahl wrote an open letter to the Swedish daily Expressen on Tuesday, calling Danius the worst Secretary since the foundation of the Academy in 1786.

Her resignation comes amid criticism regarding how the organization, which has picked the victor of the Nobel Prize for Literature since 1901, handled an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by a man married to one of its members. In a statement, the board said: "It is inevitable that a severe crisis at a prize-awarding institution also harms the Nobel Prize's reputation".

Danius said the row over the scandal had "already affected the Nobel Prize quite severely", referring to how defections from the Academy could impact the image of the Nobel Prizes and Sweden's reputation.

"It was the wish of the Academy that I should leave my role as Permanent Secretary", Danius told reporters on Thursday.

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Until a replacement is found, Anders Olsson, who has chaired the academy's meetings this term, will replace Danius.

Last November, inspired by the #MeToo campaign, 18 women made allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of Academy member Katarina Frostenson.

The crisis started last week after three male members resigned over the academy's vote not to remove a female colleague.

Swedish Carl XVI Gustav said the same day that the resignations "risked seriously damaging" the academy and all involved needed to "realize their responsibility for the institution and contribute to resolving conflicts".

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Frostenson also stepped down yesterday.

Of the 18 elders of the academy, seven are no longer active members, and two women have gone on leave for several years.

While they cannot technically resign, they can stop participating in the Academy's activities.

Arnault denies the accusations, and Frostenson has refused to step down from the academy, despite calls for her to do so.

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Stockholm prosecutors announced in mid-March that parts of the investigation against the sexual abuse suspect - concerning allegations of rape and assualt between 2013 and 2015 - had been dropped due to lack of evidence. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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