Swedish king intervenes as Nobel board resignations grow amid sex scandal

Another member of the Swedish Academy awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature said Thursday she is resigning, bringing the total number of board members who are quitting the prestigious institution to six. King Carl XVI Gustav said he has begun a consultation with the academy to discuss the issue.

King Carl XVI Gustav is the academy's patron and must approve secret votes

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, shown in 2017, said Wednesday he wants to change the statutes of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature each year, to allow board members to resign even though they are appointed for life. (Andre Penner/Associated Press)

Another member of the Swedish Academy awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature said Thursday she is resigning, bringing the total number of board members who are quitting the prestigious institution to six.

Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden's largest newspapers, said writer Lotta Lotass formally asked to leave the secretive 18-member board amid a scandal centring on sexual misconduct allegations against a man married to board member Katarina Frostenson.

Frostenson and the board's permanent secretary, Sara Danius, stepped down last week. Their departure came after three male members — Klas Ostergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund — resigned because the board refused to heed their call to remove Frostenson.

Sweden's king — the academy's patron, who must approve any of its secret votes — said Wednesday he wants to change the academy's rules to cope with the resignation of its members, who are appointed for life. King Carl XVI Gustav said he has begun a consultation with the academy to discuss the issue.

Lotass said the monarch had made an "an urgent and wise intervention," according to Dagens Nyheter. "My faith in the academy as an institution is intact," Lotass told the daily.

Her departure came hours ahead of a demonstration outside the Swedish Academy in downtown Stockholm to demand that all board members resign.

The event, organized through social media, calls on women to wear blouses with pussy bow ties similar to those worn by Danius, the board's former chief.

Many in Sweden are outraged by what appears to be women paying the price for the alleged misbehaviour of Frostenson's husband, Jean-Claude Arnault, a leading cultural figure in Sweden. Eighteen women allege Arnault assaulted or raped them from 1996 to 2017 — claims Arnault denies. Allegations have also surfaced accusing Arnault of repeatedly leaking Nobel winners' names.

Sweden's king and the Nobel Foundation Board have said the scandal was threatening to tarnish the reputation of the Nobel Prize.