Swedish Culture Minister Outraged as 2 Women Pressured to Leave Nobel Group

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The Swedish Academy's Permanent Secretary Sara Danius talks to the media as she leaves after a meeting at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm Thomson Reuters STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A row has erupted within the secretive committee that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature over sexual harassment allegations and alleged leaks of prize winners' names, prompting a rare intervention in public life by Sweden's king.

"There are other things to do in life", Danius said, making clear that the board asked for her resignation.

The crisis started last week after three male members resigned over the academy's vote not to remove a female colleague.

The resignations come after the daily Dagens Nyheter in November published statements from 18 women who said they had been subject to harassment and physical abuse by the accused man.

Arnault's wife, Katarina Frostenson, has also been forced out of the academy recently in a scandal that threatens to hurt the image of the acclaimed body.

In an emailed comment to Reuters on Thursday, Arnault's lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, said his client rejected all allegations against him.

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It has also launched an internal investigation and enlisted the services of a law firm.

The divisions within the august body, which is usually known more for literary prestige than for acrimony, erupted into the open last week when three members quit in protest, including Peter Englund, Danius's predecessor as permanent secretary.

Danius, 56, a Swedish literature historian at Stockholm University, said the turmoil at the academy has "already affected the Nobel Prize quite severely". Therefore, they can not resign but are technically refusing to participate without being replaced.

Political leaders have urged the Academy to resolve the crisis amid warnings about the impact on Sweden's image overseas.

On Wednesday, the Nobel Foundation sharply criticized the Swedish Academy, saying it had damaged its own reputation and was threatening to tarnish the reputation of the Nobel Prize itself.

Of the 18 elders of the academy, seven are no longer active members, and two women, Kerstin Ekman and Lotta Lotass, have gone on leave for several years.

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