Medicine

No Nobel Prize This Year as Committee Splits Over Sexual Assault Accusations

No Nobel Prize This Year as Committee Splits Over Sexual Assault Accusations

'The 2018 Literature Nobel Prize will be designated and announced at the same time as the 2019 victor, ' according to a press release on the decision to alter the ceremony for the first time in almost 70 years.

The scandal is the biggest to hit the prize since it was first awarded in 1901.

"We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced", said Anders Olsson, the interim permanent secretary.

The announcement that there will be no 2018 prize is the latest in a series of blows to the academy that, occurring in the glare of the #MeToo movement, have drawn worldwide attention.

A wave of resignations followed, including Frostenson and head of the academy, Prof Sara Danius. "This, out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation, and the general public". "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. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the prizes for physics, chemistry and economics, while the Nobel Assembly awards the medicine prize. Something that Arnault himself denies.

It added that the awarding of the other prizes would not be disrupted.

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As the scandal unfolded, the Swedish Academy also disclosed that an investigation had shown the names of some prize winners - the subject of lively betting - had been leaked. The conflict has led to eight Academy members leaving their chairs. She was later ousted from her position - although she remained a member of the academy - prompting complaints that she was being sacrificed for her desire to bring openness and accountability to the organization. Besides the six years during the world wars, there has only been one year when the prize was not awarded and that is because no victor was found in 1935.

The academy later admitted in a report that "unacceptable behaviour in the form of unwanted intimacy" took place within its ranks, but its handling of the allegations shredded the body's credibility, called into question its judgement and forced its first female leader to resign.

Though the academy has courted controversy in the past, for example, by awarding the 2016 prize to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, debate has mainly focused on literary merit rather than the institution itself.

Seen as bearers of high culture, the academy is traditionally known for its integrity and discretion, with its meetings and decisions shrouded in secrecy. Arnault had already been accused of sexual harassment or assault by 18 women last November.

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.


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