Famed author Nicholas Sparks is under fire this week for his negative actions toward the anti LGBTQ community. The author, who penned bestselling books such as The Notebook and A Walk To Remember helped found the Epiphany School of Global Studies in New Bern, North Carolina in 2006. The Judeo-Christian school is focused on teaching kids how to prepare for their futures through learning about the world. However, the author is currently involved in a legal case against the former headmaster of the school, Saul Benjamin. The former faculty claims that Sparks expressed racism and homophobia.
Claims That Sparks Is Homophobic
An ongoing lawsuit against members of the board of trustees at the Epiphany School of Global Studies that goes back to 2013. Benjamin claims that Sparks expressed signs of homophobia and racism. The lawsuit claims that the instances were toward Benjamin’s attempts to make the school more inclusive. In a series of emails obtained by The Daily Beast, Sparks is seen pushing Benjamin to disband and ban LGBTQ student organizations and student-led protests altogether.
LGBTQ students at the school began meeting to discuss and support one another’s sexuality. Bullying soon became an issue. Some of the bullies were the children of higher up administrators within the school. On one occasion, the bully’s allegedly said that they wanted to start what they called, a “homo-caust” against other students. Two students then planned to stage a protest at the school to announce their sexual orientation. To prevent unrest, Benjamin tried to calm the situation down as best as possible.
Instead, Benjamin was met with hostility from Sparks and other members of the board of trustees over the situation. “Understand that many perceive you having an agenda with which they disagree … an agenda that strives to make homosexuality open and accepted,” writes sparks in an email to Benjamin regarding the situation.
Other Claims Of Racism
Sparks also wrote that he suspects the lack of racial diversity within the school has more to do with tuition cost. He alleges that the issue has nothing to do with a lack of outreach. This seemed unlikely, considering that the local county is comprised of nearly 40% African Americans. “Regarding diversity, I’ve now told you half a dozen times that our lack of diversity has NOTHING to do with the school, or anyone at the school,” Nicholas Sparks writes. “It has nothing to do with what we as a school, has or hasn’t done. It has nothing to do with racism, or vestiges of Jim Crow, it comes down to 1.) money and 2.) culture,” he writes.
The lawsuit brings other members of the Board of Trustees into question as well. Tracy Lorentzen, another member of the Board of Trustees, allegedly told Benjamin that she doesn’t shop at the local Walmart. Allegedly this is because it staffs mostly black people. Lorentzen allegedly claimed is willing to drive 35 miles to go to that store. She believes it to be cleaner and staffed by mostly white people.
Sparks has, naturally, slammed the accusations in the past. However, now that concrete evidence has surfaced in the emails obtained by The Daily Beast, it will be hard to dispute such claims. The ongoing lawsuit has not reached an outcome. Sparks took to Twitter to address the issue.