The Swedish Academy announced Friday that it will not award a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2018. A such thing previously occured seven times before, in years of war and when the academy determined that none of the nominees deserved it.
This time a sexual scandal determined the decision. The announcement came days after Swedish media reported that French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of an academy member and a recipient of academy funds, groped Swedish Crown Princess Victoria at an academy event in 2006. He had already been accused of sexual harassment or assault, in some cases on academy property, by 18 women in November, last year.
In connection with the scandal, the head of the academy, Sara Danius, has stepped down, and several other academy members, including Arnault’s wife, poet Katarina Frostenson, have given up their active membership. Finally, institution acknowledged that it was “in a state of crisis following a period of strong disagreement between members over important issues. In its statement Friday, the academy indicated changes to “modernize the interpretation of the Academy’s statutes, principally the question of resignation of membership.” “The reputation of the Nobel Prize in literature has suffered greatly from the publicity surrounding the Academy’s crisis,” the academy wrote. Two prizes are now expected to be awarded in 2019. The Swedish Academy said the decision was arrived at in view of "the reduced public confidence" in the institution.