“The Notebook” author posted a Facebook statement on Monday saying he failed to be “unequivocal” in his support for LGBTQ students at the Epiphany School of Global Studies, a private K-12 Christian school Sparks co-founded.
“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,” Sparks wrote.
Saul Hillel Benjamin, the former headmaster of Epiphany, filed a lawsuit against Sparks and the school’s Board of Trustees in 2014 accusing the author of willfully keeping minority students out of the school, banning students’ exposure to non-Christian faiths and discouraging staff from helping bullied LGBTQ students.
Sparks has denied the allegations. But emails obtained by The Daily Beast last week appear to back at least some of Benjamin’s claims.
Benjamin alleged Sparks told him “black students are too poor and can’t do the academic work” asked of the school’s students. In one November 2013 email from Sparks obtained by The Daily Beast, the writer said the school’s lack of diversity “has nothing to do with racism” but rather “money” and “culture.”
The former headmaster also said Sparks supported a group of students who had bullied the school’s LGBTQ students and shot down an attempt by faculty and students to form a school club for LGBTQ students, which he said the author dismissively called “the Gay Club.” Benjamin also alleged two bisexual instructors were threatened with termination when they came forward to support LGBTQ students.
In a separate email obtained by The Daily Beast, Sparks told Benjamin he “chose to rock this boat...