Nicholas Sparks’ Christian school is a hotbed of bigotry, racism & homophobia

Celebrities at MediaCityUK studios in Manchester

As I’m sitting here, I’m only just NOW realizing that I’ve never seen a Nicholas Sparks movie. I’ve only ever seen parts of The Notebook, and that’s… the only one. A Walk to Remember, The Choice, Safe Haven, The Last Song, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe… haven’t seen any of them. I have such an aversion to those sugary, overwrought “love stories” with Christian-lite themes. Well, today is a day for lots of new information for me. It turns out, Sparks founded a school in New Bern, North Carolina called Epiphany. Epiphany is a private Christian school, not subject to public-school standards. Well, the former headmaster and CEO of Epiphany, Saul Benjamin, is suing Epiphany for what he calls “a pattern of harassment, racism and homophobia,” all of which was greenlighted and promoted by Sparks himself. The Daily Beast has an epic article about all of it:

Since 2014, members of the Epiphany School’s Board of Trustees, including Sparks, have been locked in a legal battle with the academy’s former headmaster and CEO, Saul Benjamin, over what the latter describes as a pattern of harassment, racism, and homophobia. “Sparks and members of the Board unapologetically marginalized, bullied, and harassed members of the School community,” Benjamin’s attorneys wrote in the complaint, “whose religious views and/or identities did not conform to their religiously driven, bigoted preconceptions.“

Sparks rejected the claims in a 29-page declaration to the court. But emails obtained by The Daily Beast show the romance writer repeatedly taking issue with Benjamin’s attempts to make the school inclusive to all faiths, races, and sexualities. (Sparks would not provide The Daily Beast with additional comment for this story.)

In one stern message, Sparks chastised the former headmaster for “what some perceive as an agenda that strives to make homosexuality open and accepted.” In another, he put forward a motion to ban student protest at the school, an impulse that came directly in response to two lesbian girls planning to announce their orientation during chapel. In a third, while listing complaints against Benjamin, he cites “misplaced priorities at the school level (GLBT, diversity, the beauty of other religions, as opposed to academic/curricular/global issues, Christian traditions, etc.).”

Benjamin, whose suit includes claims of defamation, also alleges Sparks spread rumors that he suffered from a mental disorder. The former headmaster told The Daily Beast he has never received any such diagnosis, but in another obtained email, the romance writer laid out a case for diagnosing him, citing forgetfulness and an “obsession” with what he characterizes as “non-relevant” issues. “While I am not a doctor–and as scary as this may sound to you–I do believe that [Benjamin] is suffering from a mental illness of some sort,” Sparks wrote in the message. “What that is–Alzheimer’s, a variance of bi-polar, something else–I have no idea.”

[From The Daily Beast]

As I said, you can read more about the legal stuff at the Daily Beast – it sounds like Epiphany was supposed to be a lot like Sparks’ books and movies: pseudo-Christian drivel for white folks. There was a lot of open bigotry, racism and homophobia around Sparks and the people he hired for the school, made worse by the fact that many of those people actually thought they were woke or doing a good thing or truly being “educators” to an almost-exclusively white student body. Today is Cancellation Day- let’s cancel Nicholas Sparks too.

Celebrities at MediaCityUK studios in Manchester

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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44 Responses to “Nicholas Sparks’ Christian school is a hotbed of bigotry, racism & homophobia”

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  1. lana86 says:

    And he looks like a psycho

    • Aang says:

      Yes! What’s up with the hands shoved deep into the pockets? Weirdo.

    • ojulia123 says:

      He has a very punchable face.

    • SM says:

      Yep. He definitely looks off. I came here only with the goal to find out who is this crazed man. Is he still making movies? Cuz I don’t recognize any of the movie names except for Notebook which I had to turn off in the middle, I was concerned I would get a seizure or smth for all the eye rolling at that over sweetened story

    • JanetDR says:

      It appears that he is a psycho, or maybe an alien life form? Lizard person? Definitely not normal human!

  2. astrid says:

    Enjoying the last photo LOL. Yes, he is cancelled for me.

  3. Mandy says:

    Dear John is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. This psycho always writes the most emotionally manipulative books, so much melodrama and no substance.

  4. Franklymydear... says:

    I cancelled him a long time ago. He gave this obnoxious, conceited interview about his books and basically said he just thought about what people liked to read, followed a formula and wrote the books. Easy!! What an ass!!

  5. Lightpurple says:

    What is with these states that allow private schools to operate at lower standards than the mandated standards of the public schools? Same with homeschooling?

    • Swack says:

      Part is they don’t get Gov’t funding therefore do not have to follow most govt policies. That’s one of the problems with vouchers and school choice. To me, if you take govt funding you should follow all the rules and policies that are in place for public schools. The private/parochial schools don’t want to do that. Taught 30 years in public schools and cannot tell you how many “discussions” I have had about it. This coming from a person who went to parochial/privates schools through high school. My perspective is from my state only. Graduation requirements are followed but that is probably the main thing they follow.

  6. Nova says:

    You had me at “pseudo-Christian drivel for white folks”. No need to comment further

  7. Becks1 says:

    I’ve never seen a NS movie or read one of his books, so cancelling him is easy lol.

  8. Nicole says:

    He was always cancelled for me. You’re welcome to my party.

  9. FHMom says:

    Was there ever any doubt?

  10. otaku fairy... says:

    Those poor kids. I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that he tried to portray someone not falling in line with his backward, bigoted stances and behaviors as a mental illness. Mental health/damage narratives have often been used to reinforce conservative morality in many cultures, and it’s usually a form of gaslighting reserved for people who aren’t straight and male. Cancelled. #Pride2019

  11. NeoCleo says:

    I tried to read “A Walk to Remember” and ended up donating it to a bookstore, spine barely disturbed. Haven’t bothered with anything else by him since then.

  12. Kylie says:

    His books are all basically the same with slight differences. And on the rare occasion a black character appears, they are always in a stereotypical role.

  13. paranormalgirl says:

    I can’t stand those formulaic Sparks’ books. Such drivel.

  14. HMC says:

    Cancellation Day isn’t affecting me at all. I feel like I’m not pulling my weight. Not a fan of Jessica Biel who hasn’t worked anyway, I don’t listen to Justin Timberlake, and I have not ever seen The Notebook or any of his other movies, or read the books.

    But, he’s a homophobic idiot, so cancelled.

  15. Amelie says:

    His books are TERRIBLE. I read The Last Song and it was so badly written omg. I know people love his books but those people have bad taste hahaha. They read like a Hallmark movie but there’s always a sad ending. He is also a huge dbag. I’ve read some of his interviews and he comes across as an arrogant and entitled dbag famously saying once “I don’t write romance, I write LOVE STORIES.” Dude you are 100% romance and crappy romance at that, take a seat.

    As for his school sadly this doesn’t surprise me. Religious private schools unfortunately get away with homophobia all the time, they aren’t public schools and don’t play by the same rules. LGBT teachers get fired at religious schools all the time, usually once they reveal they are with a same sex partner or are married to a same sex partner. It’s never fair but the school will play the “violating school standards” or something equally ridiculous. LGBT teachers should stay away from religious schools because the outcome is often unfair to them.

    This headmaster sounds like he might be able to prove his claims of harassment and racism but I think it’s a losing battle with the homophobia unfortunately.

    • Otaku fairy... says:

      The comments made by him and some of the faculty were definitely racist. I think you’re right about the homophobia though.

  16. himmiefan says:

    I haven’t read any of his books, but the film version of The Notebook is fantastic – not sugary sweet at all. As for Sparks, he’s one to judge others with his adultery and all.

  17. Nev says:

    Poor thing. Should just come out already.

  18. Emilia says:

    Not surprised at all. I lived in Eastern NC for a couple years, about 30 min from New Bern, and all the locals said he was a big d-bag.

  19. elimaeby says:

    I was living in Germany for a stint in college and my roommate had SO MANY of his books. I would get bored and try to read them. After a few, it became obvious how sexist and weird his worldview is. Every female protagonist dresses conservatively. Sometimes their “blouses” will be sleeveless. And yes, they are always called “blouses”. A beer or glass of wine gets them tipsy. Sometimes they swear – in their own head. Any woman who has casual sex in his books meets some kind of ill fate.

    He’s a glaring misogynist and it doesn’t surprise me that he’d be racist, too.

  20. Starkiller says:

    Who is this person? I have never heard of him?

    Did Jesus approve, that much plastic surgery on his face? Because there is no way, that is the face that was given to him by God.

  21. Penguin says:

    I’m pretty sure he was cancelled already.

    What’s going on with his face? He’s got that cat like too many face-lifts look going on?

  22. Penguin says:

    What’s going on with his face? He’s got that cat like too many face-lifts look going on?

  23. Neners says:

    I’m not surprised by this. I’m from NC and I know people who who have worked with him at various book signing events. He is, from all I have heard, a complete jerk. I’m sure his “school” is reflective of this.

    • Amelie says:

      This makes me feel justified in my irrational hatred of him. I always thought he came across as such a jerk in his interviews. I’m not happy to be right about it but it makes me feel better I haven’t been wrong that I wrote him off years ago.

  24. A says:

    Every time I see Nicholas Sparks in the news, I remember that fantastic satirical article in the Reductress about how his wife divorced him because, “There’s a reason you never hear the word ‘clit’ in those books: He doesn’t know what the hell it is.”

  25. Beer&Crumpets says:

    QUELLE SUPRISE…. only not really because I live in the Bible Belt where pretty much anyone who talks about being a Christian is some sort of Fundamentalist, and Fundamentalist= homophobic and bigoted, without exception. Yes, I know nice Christian people, but somehow they never talk about how wholesome and Christian they are. It’s the really creepy ones who yammer and proselytize and hate everyone who isnt just like them. The good ones are just kind and decent and treat everyone well.

  26. CQ says:

    I read A Walk To Remember in HS b/c a friend raved about how good it is. I remember thinking at 16 yrs old that this guy should apologize to the trees that had to die to print his awful writing (this was before Kindle!)

  27. Silvie says:

    He’s had Kenny Rogers / Jimmy Dean sausage amounts of bad plastic surgery.

  28. hnmmom says:

    Way back in the dawn of the internet, AOL and chat rooms, I was part of a regular book chat room. One night a newcomer comes in and starts asking about The Notebook. I had just read it and hated it, so I chime in about how awful I thought it was. Then I take a moment to read the screen name of the person who was asking about it and it was N Sparks. I used to feel badly about that interaction but now screw him, glad I told him how awful that book was when he was getting bestseller praise everywhere else.

  29. The Recluse says:

    I can say, with modest pride, that I have never read any of his works.
    I haven’t read any books by that lady who wrote those Shades of Grey books either.
    I am currently reading Madeline Albright’s book on Fascism though.

    • AMAyson1977 says:

      Excellent choice. I got to see her speak on her tour for Fascism and received a copy of the book at the event. She is an amazing, inspirational woman (funny too!) and the book is well-written, thought-provoking, and alarming.

  30. InsertNameHere says:

    Locals just sitting back enjoying that bag of dillholes getting his comeuppance… *sips sweet tea*

  31. GMonkey says:

    I was the Community Relations Manager for my local Barnes and Noble. We handle events like story time, author appearances/signings, etc. My store was too small to host him, but the big city store 30 miles away did and CRMs from small stores would go help out. Holy moly. This guy is such a demanding d-bag. He was horrible to staff. Honestly, not very nice to his adoring fans, and literally damaged property by jumping up on a book display table and jacking up the covers of the books. He is literally the worst author to have appeared ever.