Permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Sara Danius stepped down on Thursday after a three hour emergency meeting of academy members, reportedly forced out. The Academy has been embroiled in scandal since Jean-Claude Arnault was accused of multiple incidents of sexual assault and harassment last December, as well as leaking the winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature in advance on multiple occasions. As we reported on Monday, three members of the Academy resigned recently after losing a vote to remove Katarina Frostenson, the Academy member married to Arnault.
Danius is said to have been pushed out by critics who blamed her for weak leadership during the crisis, including two former permanent secretaries, Sture Allen and Horace Engdahl. Danius told reporters Thursday that divisions on the committee have “already affected the Nobel Prize quite severely, and that is a big problem.”
With two other members inactive on top of the recent departures, the 18-member committee is now down to only 11 active members. Committee members are appointed for life, with no structure in place to handle resignations. King Carl XVI Gustaf has indicated he might solve the problem by modifying the academy’s rules so that members can resigned and be replaced.
Prime minister Stefan Lofven commented: “It’s up to the academy to restore faith and respect. It’s a very important issue for Sweden, and therefore it is important that this institution works.”