Waiting for this year’s Nobel Prize announcements? Well, you’ll have to wait till next year for the Nobel laureate for Literature (of both 2018, and 2019), because the Swedish Academy has postponed the announcement as it struggles with a sexual assault scandal.
On Friday, the Academy released a statement saying, “The present decision was arrived at in view of the currently diminished academy and the reduced public confidence in the academy.”
The statement added, “The crisis in the Swedish Academy has adversely affected the Nobel Prize. Their decision underscores the seriousness of the situation and will help safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize. None of this impacts the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prizes in other prize categories.”
The prestigious Academy that awards stalwarts every year for their contribution to their respective fields, was founded by King Gustav III in 1786.
In the wake of the #MeToo campaign, 18 women alleged sexual assault and harassment at the hands of French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault last year in November. It was alleged that Arnault, who is married to a now-former member of the Academy, assualted many on properties belonging to the organisation.
Arnault denied the allegations, and back then the Swedish Academy voted against removing Arnault’s wife, Katarina Frostenson, from its committee leading to intense backlash. Apart from sexual harassment and assault with regard to Arnault and Frostenson, it was revealed that the couple were running a club which was partly funded by the Nobel institution. The club has now been shut down after allegations of conflict of interest arose.
After the former secretary of the committee, Sara Nanius quit (amidst several other exits), interim secretary Anders Olsson took over. She said, “We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence … before the next laureate can be announced. This is out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public.”