Swedish Academy Decides Not to Award Nobel Prize in Literature This Year Due to Sexual Harassment 'Crisis'


The Swedish Academy announced on Friday that it will not be giving out a Nobel Prize in Literature this year due to a “crisis” within the Academy, which is the result of many sexual harassment allegations associated with the institution.

It was reported in November of last year that 18 women claimed they were sexually assaulted or harassed by photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, which was followed by reports that he had harassed Sweden’s crown princess Victoria. Arnault is married to Academy member Katarina Frostenson and the two run the Forum, a Swedish cultural center which received funding from the Academy.

After news of Arnault’s alleged sexual misconduct broke, including the revelation that the Academy received a letter in 1996 that detailed an assault and simply shelved it, the group was met with heavy criticism. The criticism kept coming after it fired permanent secretary Sara Danius, who cut the Academy’s ties with Arnault and the Forum and reportedly advocated for more transparency, the New York Times reports. The allegations concerning Arnault as well as the firing of Danius ultimately led several Academy members to quit in protest, leaving only 10 active members out of what was originally 18.

The Swedish Academy, which only awards the literature prize, says it will postpone the 2018 award until next year: The 2018 prize will be presented along with the 2019 prize. The Academy’s acting permanent secretary, Anders Olsson, says that the Academy is working towards more transparency and better dialogue, as well as bringing in legal expertise to assess the group.

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