A sexual abuse and harassment scandal roiling the committee that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature deepened on Wednesday, as the king of Sweden and the foundation that finances the prize warned that the scandal risked tarnishing one of the world's most important cultural accolades.
Anders Olsson, a 69-year-old writer and literature professor known for his calm demeanour and diplomatic skills, has been appointed the Academy's "temporary" permanent secretary in a bid to unite the 11 remaining Academy members amid the toxic controversy that has divided it into two camps.
Shortly afterwards, the Academy announced that the man's wife had made a decision to quit her post on the board.
Three of the members who voted to oust her - Klas Ostergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund - then announced that they would no longer work with the academy.
The head of the Nobel Foundation, Lars Heikensten, has publicly expressed concern about what he termed a "serious and hard situation".
"It has already affected the Nobel Prize quite severely and that is quite a big problem", Danius said.
In a statement, the board said: "It is inevitable that a severe crisis at a prize-awarding institution also harms the Nobel Prize's reputation". Having initially given Arnault financial help to run a cultural club in Stockholm, the Academy has now severed ties with him and launched an internal investigation.
Three members of the academy withdrew last week over the issue, but arcane rules that make appointments for life mean that members can not technically resign, though they stop participating in activities.
Of the 18 members, a total of seven are no longer active members which poses a real headache: according to its statutes, 12 members are needed in order to vote in a new member.
This is not the first time the Academy has faced a wave of resignations.
A further three of the Academy's 18 members withdrew last week over the issue. The Academy finally did so 27 years later.
In an emailed comment to Reuters, Arnault's lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, said his client rejected all allegations against him.