Best-selling romance novelist Nicholas Sparks took to Twitter to deny allegations reported Thursday by The Daily Beast that he tried to ban an LGBT club at his Christian school in North Carolina.
The article brings new light to a longtime legal battle between Sparks and a former headmaster at the Epiphany School of Global Studies. The former headmaster and CEO, Saul Benjamin, alleges he was forced out in 2014 and has sued over allegations of homophobia, racism and harassment on the part of Sparks and the school’s Board of Trustees, the Associated Press reported.
In 2018, a judge ruled that Benjamin did not show enough evidence to back up his claims, dismissing a majority of allegations against Sparks and the school, according to the Associated Press.
On Thursday, The Daily Beast published an extensive report about the lawsuit, including an alleged email Sparks sent to Benjamin on Nov. 18, 2013, saying that he did not want an LGBT club at the school.
“Not allowing them admittance is discrimination. Not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination,” Sparks is said to have written in the email.
The author also allegedly said that he did not want sexual orientation to be incorporated into the school’s non-discrimination policy.
“About the non-discrimination policy you keep bringing up: please remember that sexual orientation was NOT in there originally, and that the only reason it was added was that YOU insisted it specifically be added…,” Sparks wrote, according to The Daily Beast.
The author said in a statement on Twitter on Thursday that the new report repeated false accusations and claims made against him and the school.
“I am pleased that the Court has dismissed nearly every claim against me, my Foundation and Epiphany. Very importantly, the Court has dismissed all claims of discrimination or harassment against me,” Sparks said.
Sparks added that while there will be a trial on the remaining allegations, including discrimination. Sparks said he is confident that the jury will evaluate them fairly.
Said Sparks: “Epiphany is and remains a place where students and faculty of any race, belief, religion, background or orientation should feel welcome.”