Judged for rape in Sweden, this Frenchman had become a celebrity in Sweden, where he has lived for fifty years.
This is the first big trial of the #metoo era. On the dock in Stockholm, Wednesday 19 September: a Frenchman. Unknown in his country of origin, Jean-Claude Arnault, 72, is a celebrity in Sweden, where he lives for fifty years. The man is not only the husband of the poet and academician Katarina Frostenson or the former artistic director of the Forum, a popular scene of the Stockholm elite. He is also at the origin of the resounding scandal which annihilated the Swedish Academy, institution founded in 1786 by the king Gustav III on the model of the French Academy and charged since 1901 to award the Nobel prize of literature, of which the 2018 edition had to be postponed due to historical crisis.
The case erupted on November 21, 2017. In an article in the daily Dagens Nyheter (DN), eighteen women accused the French of rape and sexual assault. The facts would have been between 1996 and 2017. Some took place in Stockholm. Others in the Paris pied-à-terre of the Academy, an apartment in the Rue du Cherche-Midi, which Jean-Claude Arnault manages and privatized, by sticking a label with his name on the door.
A case quickly suffocated
Of the eighteen women, four testify openly. Among them, the essayist Gabriella Hakansson, 50, who lives in Malmö, in the south of the country. In autumn 2007, they are invited to the same evening in Stockholm. “He saw me, walked towards me. We barely exchanged a few words and he grabbed me by the crotch. In shock, she slaps him. The people around are turning around. “Some shook their heads, others sneered. We knew him. Only his companion, jurist, ignores the identity of his attacker: “He proposed to break his face. I told him to give up, that he was known, that I did not want to cause any problems, “she breathes.