Each year, the Swedish Academy decides who is nominated for each of the various Nobel Prizes. The members of the Academy are elected for life and can’t technically resign, but they can stop participating in the academy’s activities. And that exactly what Sara Danius did.
via The New York Times
Sara Danius, the first female permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, recently stepped down from her position. She did so during a wake of sexual harassment allegations involving someone who technically isn’t involved in the Academy, but is still important. We’ll get to that later.
Since she stepped down, six of the eighteen other members of the Academy have also stepped down. Since then, the remaining 11 members have begun discussing cancelling the prizes all together.
With the announcement deadline coming up in October, the Academy is expecting a decision to be made by Thursday. If cancelled, this would be the first time since World War Two that the Academy has postponed awarding the Prize.
Okay now back to the scandal. The Swedish Academy has been criticized for its handling of a probe into alleged allegations of sexual misconduct of Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of Katarina Frostenson, a now former member of the Academy. The sexual assault and harassment allegations were brought to light by eighteen different women, with several of the reported incidents happening in properties belonging to the Academy.
The vote to remove Fronstenson from the committee sparked the resignation of three members, Klas Ostergren, Kjell Espmark, and Peter Englund on April 6th of this year.
Because there are so few members left in the committee and they are short one member to replace seats, King Carl XVI Gustaf stepped in to help the Academy. While the Nobel Prizes only require eight members to approve, the upset may cause the prize to be postponed.
Featured image via Sputnik International.