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Nobel Board criticizes Swedish literature group

Apr 13,2018
STOCKHOLM - The Nobel Foundation Board has sharply criticized the Swedish Academy, which chooses the Nobel Literature Prize winner each year, saying the group has damaged its own reputation and is threatening to tarnish the reputation of the Nobel Prize itself.

The comments came hours after the Swedish king said the resignation of members from the Swedish Academy was “deeply unfortunate and risked seriously damaging’’ the body’s “important activities.’’

After a Nobel board meeting Wednesday, the foundation issued a statement noting that “trust in the Swedish Academy has been seriously damaged’’ and demanding that the group take specific actions to restore that trust.

The Nobel board said that included making sure the Swedish Academy can carry out the 2018 Nobel selection “in a credible manner,’’ resolving the group’s conflicts of interest and confidentiality issues according to Nobel regulations and referring any “suspected criminal acts’’ to law enforcement officials.

The prestigious academy has been in turmoil after the resignations Friday of members Klas Ostergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund, who quit after the 18-member academy voted against removing a female colleague whose husband is facing sexual misconduct allegations.

Academy members are appointed for life and resignations are extremely rare. In gender-neutral Sweden, it was also a surprise that three male cultural figures would demand that a woman be ousted from a Nobel-awarding committee for her husband’s alleged actions.

The men were calling for the removal of academy member Katarina Frostenson, whose husband, Jean-Claude Arnault, has been accused of sexual misconduct and leaking Nobel winners’ names.

Arnault was banned in December by the Swedish Academy from attending a Nobel banquet after the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter published allegations from 18 women claiming to have been assaulted or raped by Arnault.

Arnault, the head of a Stockholm culture center, denies the alleged assaults, which reportedly occurred between 1996 and 2017. AP