The man at the centre of the Nobel scandal is being accused of having harrassed Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.
Three people have told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that they witnessed Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure, touching the Crown Princess on her behind at an event in Stockholm.
The Swedish Academy, which has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901, is embroiled in the worst scandal since it was founded more than two centuries ago.
At the centre of the scandal is 71-year-old Jean-Claude Arnault – a French native who has close ties to the academy since he’s married to one of its lifelong members, and a close friend of the man who used to head the academy.
Inspired by the #metoo movement eighteen women last year accused Mr. Arnault of having sexually assulted and harrassed them. Some of the events allegedly took place at properties owned by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm and in Paris.
Other incidents allegedly happened at a prestigious private cultural club that Mr. Arnault ran together with his wife, Katarina Frostenson, who is one of Sweden’s most famous poets.
Mr. Arnault has also been accused of leaking the names of Noble prize winners. He and his wife have also been criticized for receiving money from the academy for their club’s activities.
Svenska Dagbladet can now reveal that three people within or with close ties to the academy have witnessed how Mr. Arnault sexually harassed Crown Princess Victoria by putting his hand on her behind. The incident allegedly took place at a gathering at the aceademy’s villa Bergsgården on the picturesque island of Djurgården in central Stockholm.
Additionally, according to two independent sources, the former head of the academy, Horace Engdal, was told to ”take measures” to make sure that the Crown Princess and Mr. Arnault did not end up ”alone together” at the reception following a formal gathering of the academy in late 2006.
The Swedish Royal Court has declined to comment on the information.
Mr. Arnaults lawyer Björn Hurtig tells SvD: ”My client firmly denies the allegations, and claims that these are just malicious rumors that serves just one purpose; to damage his reputation and to hurt him.”
The allegations against Mr. Arnault has created chaos in the academy which until recently was one of Sweden’s most highly regarded institutions and whose original 18 members are elected for life.
Sara Danius, the first woman to have led the academy, recently stepped down.
Her resignation followed disagreements with other academy members concerning whether Mr. Arnault’s wife should step down from the academy when it became clear that the cultural club had received money from the academy.
On Saturday, one of Ms. Danius’ main allies also announced that she’s leaving the academy. In the last few weeks several other members have also left the academy, inluding Mr. Arnault’s wife, so that only ten of the original eighteen still remain.