The head of the Swedish Academy, which picks the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, stepped down on Thursday after criticism over how an investigation into a sexual misconduct was handled.
After a three-hour meeting of academy members, Sara Danius said, “It was the wish of the Academy that I should leave my role as permanent secretary,” the BBC reported. “I have made this decision with immediate effect.” While announcing her resignation, Danius said she had lost the confidence of the academy, but did not comment on whether the academy voted to remove her, according to The Guardian.
Eighteen women accused Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of one of the members of the institution, of harassment and physical abuse in 2017.
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.
Earlier, three other members of the Academy stepped down. While according to academy rules, members cannot technically resign as appointments are made for life, but they can stop participating in its activities, according to Reuters.
Hours after Danius’ announcement, the Academy said Arnault’s wife, Katarina Frostenson, had also decided to quit from her post on the board.
Meanwhile, Arnault’s lawyer Bjorn Hurtig told Reuters, “Jean-Claude Arnault rejects all claims of criminal activity and he rejects other allegations that have been made against him.”