Nicholas Sparks apologizes and says he is not homophobic after emails show his efforts to block LGBT group at school by saying ‘not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination’
- Nicholas Sparks apologized for emails sent back in 2013 in which he fought against the creation of an LGBT group at the private school he funds
- ‘I believe in the school’s founding principle of loving God and thy neighbor as thyself, and that includes members of the LGBTQ community,’ said Sparks
- ‘I am an unequivocal supporter of gay marriage, gay adoption, and equal employment rights,’ he later added
- Sparks said in one email that the board of trustees at the school, which he heads, did not want to reference ‘sexual orientation’ in its policy literature
Nicholas Sparks is apologizing for repeatedly objecting to pro-gay agenda and club at the private school he funds in a series of emails that were made public last week.
‘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,’ wrote Sparks.
The author went on to suggest that due to the ongoing litigation which caused these emails to become public, he could not comment on the full story at this time.
‘I believe in the school’s founding principle of loving God and thy neighbor as thyself, and that includes members of the LGBTQ community. I believe in and unreservedly support the principle that all individuals should be free to love, marry and have children with the person they choose, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation,’ wrote Sparks.
‘This is and has always been a core value of mine. I am 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.’
Response: Nicholas Sparks (above) apologized for emails sent back in 2013 in which he fought against the creation of an LGBT group at the private school he funds
Sparks said this despite writing in one email that the board of trustees at the school, which he heads, did not want to reference ‘sexual orientation’ in its policy literature.
‘About the non-discrimination policy you keep bringing up: please remember that sexual orientation was NOT in there originally, and that the reason it was added was that YOU insisted it be specifically be added, or you said that the school might get in serious legal trouble,’ wrote Sparks.
‘Frankly, no one but you wanted it in there, preferring to simply phrase it as “we don’t discriminate against …. Please stop implying it was something the BOT wanted to do; it’s the law.’
He then added: ‘And, I will be checking on how that relates to faith-based schools. If possible, we might be able to change it back to what it was before.’
The emails in question were sent by Sparks to the school’s then-headmaster Saul Benjamin, who is now suing the author, his charitable foundation and others for wrongful termination.
He also claims in his lawsuit that the author once said that the lack of black students at the school was not the result of any discriminatory practice, but rather because those individuals ‘are too poor and can’t do the academic work.’
Benjamin is suing Sparks, select members of the Epiphany board and Sparks’ charitable foundation for wrongful termination, claiming that he was forced out as headmaster after less than a year due to his push for a more diverse and inclusive community at the school.
Sparks did this, claims Benjamin in his complaint, by suggesting the school’s new hire was suffering from a mental illness.
The bestselling author of The Notebook, A Walk to Remember and Message in a Bottle started Epiphany in 2006, with his charitable foundation providing a portion of the funding for the school in New Bern, North Carolina.
Sparks had previously said in a statement on Twitter last week that Benjamin’s allegations from the lawsuit are ‘false’ and expressed his confidence that a jury would rule in his favor should the case go to trial.
Benjamin’s lawyer Lawrence M. Pearson responded to Sparks’ post on Monday in a statement that read: ‘The emails continue to speak for themselves and demonstrate Nicholas Sparks’s unmistakable lack of support for an LGBT club or the students affected by anti-LGBTQ+ bullying at the school.
‘This new and belated statement by Mr. Sparks will be subject to cross-examination at trial, where it will be contrasted with other statements he has made on the subject of LGBTQ+ inclusion. We are confident that a jury will find Mr. Sparks and the other Defendants liable for their unlawful actions in August.’