Nicholas Sparks, the author of The Notebook, Safe Haven and many more notable novels, has been accused of racism and homophobia in a new lawsuit filed against him by the former principal of the Christian school the writer founded in 2006.
Saul Hillel Benjamin claims he was hired to run the Epiphany School for Global Studies in North Carolina but fell out with Sparks when he suggested there should be more African-American students, according to TMZ.
He alleges Sparks responded, “Black students are too poor and can’t do the academic work.”
In his lawsuit, he also claims the school founder ignored bullying claims by gay students, and he alleges he was humiliated when Sparks forced him to justify his Jewish heritage in front of the entire school, while students hurled abuse at him and members of the board applauded their insults.
Benjamin was later fired by Sparks, who reportedly told teachers at the school to ignore any claims the former headmaster made against him – because he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Ironically, The Notebook features a lead character suffering from the illness.
Sparks and his aides have yet to issue a formal statement about the lawsuit.
According to TMZ, Sparks’ entertainment lawyer, Scott Schwimer, has since issued the following statement:
“As a gay, Jewish man who has represented Nick for almost 20 years I find these allegations completely ludicrous and offensive.”