Photo: Courtesy New Line Cinema.
Nicholas Sparks has been accused of some terrible crimes against humanity — but enough about his books.
The man who gave us The Notebook, Dear John, Safe Haven, and countless other sappy romances set in North Carolina, has been hit with a lawsuit that paints a disturbing picture of the novelist's character. The suit, filed by the former head of a private Christian school founded by Sparks, accuses the bookstore favorite of being racist and homophobic.
Plaintiff Saul Hillel Benjamin, former headmaster at the Epiphany School for Global Studies in N.C., alleges that Sparks thwarted his efforts to promote diversity at the school. When told that the school had just two black students out of 514, Sparks allegedly responded, "Black students are too poor and can't do the academic work." Ahead of a meeting between Benjamin and a member of the NAACP, Sparks reportedly told the headmaster to "engage only in private and less visible contact with African Americans."
Benjamin claims that he was also discouraged from speaking about other religions, and was forced by Sparks to speak in front of the school and "defend" his Jewish beliefs.
Gay students who complained of bullying were also allegedly ignored by Sparks, who Benjamin says supported an anti-gay group calling for a "homo-caust."
Benjamin was ultimately fired. When he started making claims against Sparks, he says the writer told others to ignore him because he was suffering from Alzheimer's. You know, like Gena Rowlands in The Notebook?
Nasty allegations are par for the course with any lawsuit, and there are indeed two sides to every story. Still, will readers and movie audiences still support Sparks in this unflattering new light? (Gawker)
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