'The Notebook' author Nicholas Sparks denies homophobia and racism accusations

·Contributor
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' <i>The Notebook</i> (New Line Cinema)
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook (New Line Cinema)

The Notebook author Nicholas Sparks has responded to accusations of homophobia and racism that have been reported by The Daily Beast.

The claims come from a legal battle between the writer and Saul Benjamin, former headmaster and CEO of the Epiphany School of Global Studies in New Bern, North Carolina.

The Daily Beast article claims that Sparks ‘chastised’ Benjamin for promoting “an agenda that strives to make homosexuality open and accepted.”

The article quotes emails The Daily Beast claims were written by Sparks - whose novel The Notebook inspired the hit film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams - to Benjamin, which include the following cricisim of the School’s non-discrimination policy.

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“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 be specifically be added, or you said that the school might get in serious legal trouble. Frankly, no one but you wanted it in there…”

MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 16:  American romance novelist, screenwriter and producer Nicholas Sparks during a private interview with his fans for New Book 'Two By Two' on October 16, 2017 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)
Novelist, screenwriter and producer Nicholas Sparks during a private interview with his fans for New Book 'Two By Two'. (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)

The piece says Sparks was against the formation of an LGBT group at the school, referring to emails that defend his position (“not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination”), while denying the school had problems with gay students. “Remember, we’ve had gay students before, many of them,” Sparks wrote. “[The former headmaster] handled it quietly and wonderfully… I expect you to do the same.”

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The article also says that Sparks has made racist comments, including blaming the school’s lack of black students on the fact (in Sparks alleged words) they are “too poor and can’t do the academic work.”

Sparks has posted a response to the Daily Beast on Twitter, saying the article repeats “false allegations and claims,” and that claims of discrimination and harassment made by Benjamin have been rejected in court.