Head of Nobel-awarding Swedish Academy steps down after criticism

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The pinnacle of the Swedish Academy stepped down on Thursday after criticism of how the establishment, which picks the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, dealt with a probe into allegations of sexual misconduct by a person married to one among its members.

The Swedish Academy’s Everlasting Secretary Sara Danius and academy member Sara Stridsberg go away the Swedish Academy after a gathering, in Stockholm, Sweden April 12, 2018. TT Information Company/Jonas Ekstromer/ by way of REUTERS

Shortly afterwards, the Academy introduced that the person’s spouse had determined to stop her submit on the board.

Three members of the Academy withdrew final week over the difficulty, however arcane guidelines that make appointments for all times imply that members can’t technically resign, although they cease collaborating in actions.

“It was the want of the Academy that I ought to go away my position as Everlasting Secretary,” Sara Danius, who has held the submit since 2015, instructed reporters.

“I’ve made this choice with rapid impact.”

The Swedish Academy’s Everlasting Secretary Sara Danius talks to the media as she leaves after a assembly on the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden April 12, 2018. TT Information Company/Jonas Ekstromer/ by way of REUTERS

The general public row and defections from the Academy have raised issues that the picture of the Nobel Prizes and Sweden’s status overseas may endure.

“It has already affected the Nobel Prize fairly severely and that’s fairly an enormous drawback,” Danius mentioned.

The allegations of sexual assault and harassment had been made towards Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of Academy member Katarina Frostenson who additionally stepped down on Thursday.

The Swedish Academy’s Everlasting Secretary Sara Danius talks to the media as she leaves after a assembly on the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden April 12, 2018. Danius mentioned to journalists that she would depart her place and the Swedish Academy instantly. TT Information Company/Jonas Ekstromer/ by way of REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN

In an emailed remark to Reuters, Arnault’s lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, mentioned his consumer rejected all allegations towards him.

“Jean-Claude Arnault rejects all claims of felony exercise and he rejects different allegations which have been made towards him,” Hurtig mentioned.

State prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into the incidents, however mentioned final month some components of the probe had been shelved as a consequence of an absence of proof and the statute of limitations having handed for among the incidents.

Nevertheless, prosecutors mentioned the investigation associated to some incidents was persevering with.

The Swedish Academy mentioned in an announcement that Frostenson had determined to depart her submit “within the hope that the Swedish Academy will survive as an establishment.”

The Academy severed ties with Arnault, whom it had helped financially in working a cultural membership in Stockholm, in November following the allegations made towards him.

Reporting by Simon Johnson and Johannes Hellstrom; Modifying by Richard Balmforth

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