On his Facebook page late last night, author Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John, The Lucky One) responded to a lawsuit filed by a former headmaster of a Christian school he founded that accuses the best-selling novelist of being a racist, anti-semitic homophobe.
The lawsuit, filed by Epiphany School ex-headmaster Saul Benjamin, claims Sparks said black students were "too poor and can't do the academic work" as an explanation for the school's lack of diversity, supported anti-gay school bullies who sought to enact a "Homo-caust" against a group of gay students he derisively referred to as the "Gay Club", and "displayed contempt for Mr. Benjamin's Jewish heritage and Quaker faith," among other damning allegations.
Read Sparks' Facebook response:
You may have heard about the grievances filed by the former headmaster of The Epiphany School, the school which I founded in 2006. I emphatically reject his claims, but beyond that I’m deeply saddened by their nature, given the fact that I founded Epiphany with the express purpose of creating a truly global and multicultural institution, accessible to individuals of all races, religions, and orientations. This is a painful experience for me, but I want to thank all of you for your support . . . your faith and loyalty mean the world to me.
An alumni of The Epiphany School sent the following statement to North Carolina's WCTI-TV station defending Sparks:
"I am an alumnus of The Epiphany School and am outraged by Mr. Benjamin's accusations. Prior to his arrival, TES was a great place to express being Christian of any and all denominations. Once he arrived, it became hostile for Christians.
"A group of students wanted to create an LGBT club (some supporters of the club called it the Gay Club too). They were not granted permission to hold the club and meet as a club. HOWEVER, they were not bullied and bullying was in NO way encouraged.
"This puts a bad light on a great school that has helped me and countless others strengthen their religious views and have the opportunity to go on to high-level colleges like NC State, UNC, etc."
A developing story no doubt, but if students at the school were indeed not able to create a LGBT club solely based on the fact that it would have been an LGBT club, that news appears to contradict Sparks' claim that the school is "accessible to individuals of all races, religions, and orientations."