Nobel Prize For Literature 2018 Cancelled After Sexual Harassment Scandal


The organization that decides the Nobel Prize for Literature has chosen to skip announcing an award this year, after the academy was faced with sexual assault allegations against the husband of a member.

The Nobel Prize for Literature was postponed on seven previous occasions since its launch in 1901, six of which occurred during World War I and II.

We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the academy before the next laureate can be announced.

Responding to the announcement Friday, close observers of the Swedish Academy's handling of the scandal said that the committee essentially had no other choice than to postpone this year's prize.

The head of the Academy, Sara Danius, stepped down in April. "Everyone understands that this person has no say in the decision about who receives the Nobel Prize in literature, but when an institution that elects a Nobel Prize laureate is in a situation like this there is obviously a risk that it affects the Nobel Prize negatively", he said.

Yesterday morning the Swedish Academy published an official statement in which they announced the King will not hand out a Nobel Prize. His lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, denied all allegations, claiming his client was the victim of "a witch hunt".

It added that the awarding of the other prizes would not be disrupted. Arnault has also been suspected of violating Nobel rules by leaking winners' names - allegedly seven times. The recriminations meant that by this week, there were only 10 active members of a body that ought to have 18.

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The Nobel Foundation reacted promptly, saying it presumes that the academy "will now put all its efforts into the task of restoring its credibility as a prize-awarding institution and that the Academy will report the concrete actions that are undertaken". Last year, a Swedish newspaper reported that Arnault had harassed or assaulted 18 women, and since then, more accusations have come out, including that he groped Sweden's Crown Princess, Victoria.

It may be literature's greatest honor, but the Nobel Prize has sometimes drawn negative attention to writers as well as praise. This is due to a severe internal crisis in the Academy that has been going on for several weeks now.

Resigning was not possible until earlier this week, when the academy's patron, King Carl XVI Gustaf, approved changes in the statutes allowing members to resign.

"The investigation revealed that unacceptable behavior in the form of unwanted intimacy had indeed taken place, but the knowledge was not widely spread in the Academy".

The old Stock Exchange Building, home of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on Thursday, May 3, 2018. Polanski in turn accused the US Academy of harassment.

In a prior statement last week, the Nobel Prize-awarding institution confirmed that it had obtained a legal firm to investigate to what extent senior members were aware of the sexual harassment and assault allegations before the public protest.