Royal harassment: French photographer accused of groping Swedish crown princess Victoria at Nobel academy
Amid clouds of doubts hovering over the handing out of Nobel Prize in literature this year following a series of sex abuse scandals, a new report has emerged, throwing light on an alleged sexual assault situation surrounding a leading cultural figure in Sweden, photographer Jean-Claude Arnault.
According to reports, the French-Swedish personality, who already faces a barrage of allegation related to sexual misconduct, is now being reported to have gotten a bit handsy with a member of Swedish royal family.
Arnault, during an event organized by the Swedish Academy almost 10 years back at its Villa Bergsgården in Stockholm, is said to have inappropriately touched Swedish crown princess Victoria, it has been reported. He allegedly groped the Princess, requiring one of the royal's aides to jump to her defense.
“He was lurking behind (her) and I saw his hand land on her neck and go down. All the way down,” Swedish literature scholar Ebba Witt-Brattström told media outlets, as reported by The Telegraph and relayed by People magazine. Ebba Witt-Brattström further described how the Princess' assistant quickly leaped to tackle the inappropriate situation.
“She just flew at Arnault. She grabbed him and pushed him away,” the 64-year-old scholar said. “The Crown Princess turned in surprise. I guess she had never been groped. She just looked like ‘What?’”
However, the now-71-year-old photographer has vehemently refuted the allegations, via his legal team.
"My client most strongly denies these allegations. He claims that these malicious rumours serve a single purpose; to blacken his name and damage him," Arnault’s lawyer, Björn Hurtig, reportedly told The Telegraph.
On one hand, this shocking report has re-ignited talks about anti-harassment and on the other hand, it has brought to limelight the acute trouble brewing at the Swedish Academy, the body responsible for handing out Nobel Prize in Literature.
Given the circumstances and the recent resignations, it is to be seen if at all a Nobel is awarded for 2018.
“After our next Thursday meeting there will most probably be a statement on whether we will award a prize this year or reserve it for next year, in which case two prizes for literature will be announced in October 2019,” said Per Wästberg, a spokesman for the committee, as per reports.