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Nicholas Sparks Responds to Disparaging Homophobic Emails

by Sam Cronin
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Jun 17, 2019

Bestselling romance author Nicholas Sparks has faced criticism for a series of emails he sent as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of a Christian school he co-founded, The Epiphany School of Global Studies. The emails have been released as part of an ongoing lawsuit against Sparks accusing him of racism and homophobia in his position. The emails, obtained by the Daily Beast, paint a portrait of Sparks as intolerant, and unsupportive of plans to make the school more supportive to the LGBT community and diverse.

Sparks has recently come out to rebut the criticisms against him, saying on his Twitter: "The article appearing in today's TheDailyBeast is not news, and repeats false accusations and claims made against Epiphany and me, and largely ignores the overwhelming evidence we have submitted to the Court." He went on to say that the court had dismissed all claims of discrimination, and that: "Epiphany is and remains a place where students and faculty of any race, belief, religion, background or orientation should feel welcome."

The lawsuit was filed by the former headmaster of the Epiphany school, Saul Benjamin, who provided the emails as part of the claims against Sparks. In his initial complaint, Benjamin alleged: "Sparks and members of the Board unapologetically marginalized, bullied, and harassed members of the School community whose religious views and/or identities did not conform to their religiously driven, bigoted preconceptions," according to the Hill.

In the emails, Sparks defends his banning of an LGBT club Benjamin had been trying to organize, saying "not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination." He went on to imply that gay students should not be open about their sexuality, an implication he has since denied intending. "Remember, we've had gay students before, many of them," Sparks wrote. "[The former headmaster] handled it quietly and wonderfully... I expect you to do the same." He also went on to offer a non-medical diagnosis of Benjamin, alleging he may suffer from "Alzheimer's, a variance of bi-polar, something else - I have no idea," according to the Hill.

In response to the emails TMZ has gotten a hold of an apology from Sparks, which begins with: "As someone who has spent the better part of my life as a writer who understands the power of words, I regret and apologize that mine have potentially hurt young people and members of the LGBTQ community, including my friends and colleagues in that community."

The lawsuit against Sparks is set to go to trial in August, according to TMZ.


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