The Swedish Academy, the organization responsible for awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature, has decided to postpone giving the award this year after being embroiled in a sexual assault scandal caused by a member’s husband.
French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault has been accused by 18 women of sexual misconduct when he ran a cultural project funded by the Swedish Academy.
The alleged incidents happened on academy premises, but Mr. Arnault denies the accusations.
This scandal prompted the organization to remove Mr. Arnault’s wife, the poet and writer, Katarina Frostenson from the committee.
This sparked a rift among its members leading to multiple resignations. Aside from conflict of interest among members, leakage of Nobel winners names’ divided the origanization.
Though academy members are there for life and may opt out of participating in academy activities, three of them, along with the head of the committee, Sara Danius, resigned after Ms. Frostenson was removed.
Originally, the committee had 18 members, but with the removal of Ms. Frostenson and resignation of the other members, only 11 remain. Statutes require a minimum of 12 members to vote in a new member.
Academy Patron King Carl XVI Gustaf has said that he will change the rules to allow members to quit formally.
The Swedish Academy decided on announcing the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 along with the naming of the 2019 awardee. This is not the first time the Academy has done this. However, it is the first time that the Academy has been involved in a scandal this big since they began giving the award in 1901.