Author Nicholas Sparks is being accused of discrimination in a lawsuit filed by the former headmaster of the Epiphany School of Global Studies, which Sparks founded with his wife.
According to the Guardian, the plaintiff, Saul Benjamin, says that the notion that Sparks represents views of tolerance the “greatest fiction” the author has yet created.
“In reality, the non-fiction version of Defendant Sparks feels free, away from public view, to profess and endorse vulgar and discriminatory views about African-Americans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (‘LGBT’) individuals, and individuals of non-Christian faiths,” the complaint reads.
Benjamin says in the lawsuit that Sparks supported students who were bullying LGBT students and that he put Benjamin in a room and yelled at him until Benjamin signed a letter of resignation, according to the Guardian.
The complaint reads, “Sparks insisted that Mr. Benjamin stop talking about Islam, Judaism, or any other non-Christian religion" during school events, according to the Associated Press, and the complaint has Sparks telling Benjamin, "That's not what our parents like to hear.”
The school is located in New Bern, N. C., and does not espouse a particular religious belief. According to the website, the school is “a community of open-hearted Faith…. Our school is rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition…. Students of all faiths are welcomed and encouraged to attend.”
In addition, the lawsuit claims that after Benjamin went to an NAACP meeting to talk with black parents whose children might want to attend the school, Sparks “indicated that Mr. Benjamin should utilize less public and visible means if he sought to meet with African-Americans,” according to the AP.
Entertainment attorney Scott Schwimer said in a statement, “As a gay, Jewish man who has represented Nick for almost 20 years I find these allegations completely ludicrous and offensive,” according to the AP.