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Three Nobel Prize judges resign over mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations

Three members of the Nobel Prize committee, which selects the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, have resigned from their positions in protest over how sexual misconduct allegations were dealt with by the committee, reports the Guardian.

Former permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Peter Englund and authors Klas Östergren and Kjell Espmark all separately resigned from the 18-person jury on 6 April, in the wake of abuse accusations against a figure with close ties to the Swedish Academy. The positions are designed to be for life, and no member has technically left it before. This means that the seats of those who quit will remain unfilled until their deaths.

The New York Times reported that the resignations come after a long-simmering scandal, which began in November 2017 during the rise of the #MeToo movement, when 18 women accused Jean-Claude Arnault—the influential director of a literary club in Stockholm, with close ties to the Swedish Academy—of sexual assault and harassment.

‘The Swedish Academy has for a long time had serious problems and has now tried to solve them in a way that puts obscure considerations before its own statutes, which is a betrayal of its founder and patron, and not least its mission to represent genius and taste,’ Östergren told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, according to a translation from Swedish news site The Local. ‘Therefore, I have chosen to no longer take part in its activities. I’m leaving the table, I’m out of the game.’

According to the Associated Press, Espmark wrote a letter to Swedish media outlets saying: ‘Integrity is the lifeblood of the Swedish Academy. When leading voices in the academy put friendship and other irrelevant considerations before this integrity, then I can no longer participate in the work.’ Englund announced his resignation with a statement on his blog: ‘Decisions were made that I don’t believe in nor can defend, and I have therefore decided to no longer participate in the Swedish Academy’s work.’

Permanent secretary of the academy Sara Danius said that the academy was now looking at revising the rules, and making it possible for members to leave and be replaced, according to The Local.

 

Category: International news

 

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