- Novelist Nicholas Sparks has responded to reports that he tried to stop an LGBTQ student organisation from forming at the private prep school he co-founded.
- In a lengthy statement released Monday, Sparks said he is “an unequivocal supporter of gay marriage, gay adoption, and equal employment rights and would never want to discourage any young person or adult from embracing who they are.”
- The emails between Sparks and a former headmaster were published by The Daily Beast on Thursday. They show Sparks calling for the ban of a “gay club.” He also made comments about the school’s diversity.
- The former headmaster sued Sparks and the school’s Board of Trustees in 2014, accusing them of discrimination, breach of contract, emotional distress, and defamation.
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Novelist Nicholas Sparks has responded to reports that he tried to stop an LGBTQ student organisation from forming at Epiphany School of Global Studies, the private prep school he co-founded.
Sparks is best known for his novels “The Notebook,” “A Walk To Remember,” “Dear John,” and “The Last Song,” among others. He founded the prep school in 2006 along with his wife, Catherine.
On Thursday, The Daily Beast published emails between sparks and former headmaster Saul Benjamin showing the pair feuding over a “gay club” for students and discrimination policies in 2013.
In one piece of correspondence, Sparks said that “not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination.”
“Remember, we’ve had gay students before, many of them,” he wrote in the emails obtained by the Daily Beast. “[The former headmaster] handled it quietly and wonderfully… I expect you to do the same.”
In a different email, he addressed diversity at the North Carolina School.
“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. It’s not because of 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.”
On Monday, Sparks responded to the article with a lengthy statement.
“As someone who has spent the better part of my life as a writer who understands the power of words, I regret and apologise that mine have potentially hurt young people and members of the LGBTQ community, including my friends and colleagues in that community,” he wrote.
— Nicholas Sparks (@NicholasSparks) June 17, 2019
The novelist said he is “an unequivocal supporter of gay marriage, gay adoption, and equal employment rights and would never want to discourage any young person or adult from embracing who they are.”
Benjamin sued Sparks and the Board of Trustees in 2014, accusing them of discrimination, breach of contract, emotional distress, and defamation. The case is set to go to trial in August.
“It’s never been my intent to be unresponsive to the needs of the LGBTQ or any minority community,” Sparks’ statement concluded. “In fact the opposite is true, and I trust my actions moving forward will confirm that.”
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