Nicholas Sparks, also known as that terrible writer of romantic dramas everyone uses as proof that romance novels suck despite him not being a romance writer, has issued an apology following claims he fostered an anti-LGBTQ environment at the school he co-founded. This followed a series of leaked email between Sparks and the former headmaster that were published on The Daily Beast. Sparks co-founded the Epiphany School of Global Studies in North Carolina in 2006. In 2014, former headmaster Saul Benjamin filed a lawsuit alleging that Sparks and other school board members ‘unapologetically marginalised, bullied, and harassed’ people at the school ‘whose religious views and/or identities did not conform to their religiously driven, bigoted preconceptions.’ The lawsuit also claimed that influential families involved at the school ‘sought to enact a ‘homo-caust” against LGBT students, and claimed that Sparks ‘derisively’ referred to them as ‘the gay club’.
The leaked e-mails show Sparks criticizing Benjamin for ‘what some perceive as an agenda that strives to make homosexuality open and accepted’. While defending his decision to ban LGBTQ students from forming a club, Sparks wrote that ‘not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination […] Remember, we’ve had gay students before, many of them … [The former headmaster] handled it quietly and wonderfully… I expect you to do the same.’
Originally, Sparks responded to the story by claiming that the leaks ‘largely ignores the overwhelming evidence we have submitted to the court.’ But then he probably got a call from his publisher and has since issued an ‘apology’. This being 2019, he did so on Twitter.
And just in case he deletes it, here’s the apology!
Uh huh, so his angry claim that ‘there will never be an LGBT club’ wasn’t homophobia, you see. He was just mad that the headmaster hadn’t followed protocol. You know those sticklers for bureaucracy. Put one toe out of line and suddenly they can’t help but discriminate.
Here’s the thing: This ‘apology’ ignores the other thing he was criticized heavily for with those e-mail leaks. He also wrote to Benjamin about the school’s lack of diversity, defending the overwhelming whiteness of the student body by saying, ‘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.’
I mean, that sounds pretty Jim Crow-y to me? He’s not racist, he just doesn’t think black students have the money or classiness to join his beloved ranks. What a prize. Wonder what the excuse is for the whiteness of his books.
And he’s still not a romance author!