Nicholas Sparks has apologized for past homophobic actions after allegations surfaced in the media this week.
Last week, The Daily Beast's Tarpley Hitt reported on the ongoing legal battle between Sparks and a former headmaster of the Epiphany School of Global Studies, a Christian prep school in North Carolina that the romance novelist helped co-found.
Saul Benjamin, who served as Epiphany’s headmaster and CEO for 98 days in 2013, alleges in court documents that Sparks, the author of 20 novels including The Notebook and A Walk to Remember, and the school’s Board of Trustees “unapologetically marginalized, bullied, and harassed members of the School community… whose religious views and/or identities did not conform to their religiously driven, bigoted preconceptions.“
Benjamin details a pattern of harassment, racism, and homophobia that included thwarting student-led efforts to form LGBTQ+ groups, spreading rumors about Benjamin’s mental state, and claiming that Epiphany’s disproportionately low Black student enrollment was because area community members were “too poor and can’t do the academic work.”
Sparks claimed Benjamin’s allegations were “false” in his own court documents, but now the author has apologized for some of what the former headmaster has alleged.
"It’s never been my intent to be unresponsive to the needs of the LGBTQ or any minority community,” Sparks wrote in a Facebook post on Monday, USA Today reports. "In fact, the opposite is true, and I trust my actions moving forward will confirm that."
He added that he is an “unequivocal supporter” of same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, and equal employment regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
"I believe in the school’s founding principle of loving God and thy neighbor as thyself, and that includes members of the LGBTQ community," Sparks continued. "I believe in and unreservedly support the principle that all individuals should be free to love, marry and have children with the person they choose, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. This is and has always been a core value of mine."