Swedish Academy head quits Nobel body over sexual misconduct probe

Streetview of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm

The head of the Swedish Academy that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature has stepped down after a sexual abuse scandal.

The resignations come after the daily Dagens Nyheter in November published statements from 18 women, alleging they had been subject to harassment and physical abuse by the accused man.

The scandal has dragged the Academy's reputation through the mud, something the Swedish king, who is its patron, and the Nobel Foundation would gladly have done without.

Another member, Horace Engdahl, said that Academy had confirmed that there was "a problem of leadership".

Frostenson, who had long refused to step down over the affair, also announced she was withdrawing from the Academy's workings.

"It was the wish of the Academy that I should leave my role as Permanent Secretary", Ms Danius told reporters on Thursday.

The head of the Nobel Foundation, Lars Heikensten, has publicly expressed concern about what he termed a "serious and hard situation".

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After the Academy voted against removing Ms Frostenson last week, three of its members Klas Ostergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund stood down from the 18-person committee in protest, Swedish media reported.

"It is not yet possible to say how this will damage the Nobel Prize".

Technically, the Academy's members are appointed for life and cannot resign, but they can choose not to participate in its meetings and decisions. Having initially given Arnault financial help to run a cultural club in Stockholm, the Academy has now severed ties with him and launched an internal investigation.

The Nobel Foundation Board sharply criticized the Swedish Academy on Wednesday, saying the group was threatening to tarnish the reputation of the Nobel Prize.

It is not the first time the Academy has faced a wave of resignations.

Three male members of the Swedish Academy quit after the group held a secret vote and decided not to remove a female colleague whose husband is in embroiled in sexual misconduct allegations. The Academy finally did so 27 years later.

However, the investigation related to some incidents was continuing, prosecutors confirmed.

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