The poet and dramatist Kristina Lugn told Swedish Radio on Friday evening that she had never seen anything to suggest that Sara Danius faced additional troubles as Permanent Secretary because of her gender.
“It would be much neater if I said that, that it was about her being a woman, but I don’t think it’s true,” Lugn said. “I’ve never noticed anything like that at the Academy. I do not feel that either the men in the Academy nor I myself have that sort of view of women.”
Commentators on Friday and Saturday rushed to channel the anger and confusion of many in Sweden at the fact that a scandal that began with sexual harassment accusations against a man, photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, had resulted in two women leaving the Academy.
“Let us remember that the crisis at the Academy is about a man,” wrote Swedish journalist Eva Franchell in Aftonbladet. “And yet it’s the women who have been sacrificed.”
She likened Danius’s problems to those of politicians Mona Sahlin, and Anna Kinberg Batra, who led respectively the Social Democrat and Moderate parties, before being ousted.
“We’ve seen this so many times before,” she said. “It’s the uppity woman who gets schemed against and forced out.”
On Friday, women and men in Sweden posted pictures of themselves wearing pussy bows in support of Danius, who often wears blouses in that style.
Lugn said that there had been “enormous pressure” at the meeting on Thursday evening that preceded Danius’ announcement.
“We all came there very conscious that we had to do something,” she said. “Everything was already around us. There were 20 journalists gathered around us. The thing had to be brought out onto the table. It was not a happy atmosphere.”