Nobel literature prize panel boss steps down over sex abuse scandal


Swedish Academy boss Sara Danius announced her decision to step down following a three-hour emergency meeting of the institution's members yesterday in Stockholm, The Guardian reports.

The head of the Swedish Academy, which picks the victor of the Nobel Prize for Literature, stepped down on Thursday after criticism over how an investigation into a sexual misconduct was handled. Therefore, they can not resign but are technically refusing to participate without being replaced.

Danius said she had lost the confidence of the academy, but would not comment on whether a vote was held to remove her.

The Swedish police are looking into the abuse allegations; Arnault has denied any wrongdoing.

The divisions within the august body, which is usually known more for literary prestige than for acrimony, erupted into the open last week when three members quit in protest, including Peter Englund, Danius's predecessor as permanent secretary.

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The academy has been caught up in the matter since November, when the newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that at least 18 women had accused Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure, of sexual assault and harassment.

The foundation issued a statement noting that "trust in the Swedish Academy has been seriously damaged" and demanding that the group take specific actions to restore that trust. It seems Engdahl got his supporters - chiefly men - go against Danius and all those who supported her have now left the academy.

State prosecutors are continuing to investigate incidents related to the allegations, Reuters reports.

Before the departures of Danius and Frostenson, seven of the academy's 18 members were women.

"There are other things to do in life", Danius said, making clear that the board asked for her resignation.

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Neither Frostenson nor the academy would elaborate.

Bah Kuhnke, the culture minister, said she was following the crisis at the academy "with sorrow".

Since a wave of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein started last fall, multiple men in entertainment, media, politics and beyond have faced allegations ranging from inappropriate sexual behavior to rape.

The Academy has also come under fire for the way it handled the allegations of sexual misconduct. "Now it is enough, we refuse to go back", Bah Kuhnke said.

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