The Notebook author says anti-LGBT comments were ‘weaponised’
Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook, has said that past comments he made about LGBT+ people were “weaponised,” and said he is personally “for gay marriage”.
Sparks made the comments in a North Carolina court this week as a part of a five-year legal battle with Saul Benjamin, the former headmaster of a faith-based school that Sparks co-founded, The Daily Beast reports.
Speaking in court, the bestselling author defended his school’s track record on LGBT+ issues.
“We have had gay students from the beginning. We now have transgender students; we have gay faculty. We have incredibly strict anti-bullying policies,” Sparks said, according to Courthouse News.
Nicholas Sparks faced backlash for past comments about LGBT+ people.
Sparks’ courtroom defence comes just two months after The Daily Beast obtained emails from 2013, in which the author criticised Benjamin for showing “what some perceive as an agenda that strives to make homosexuality open and accepted”.
In another email, Sparks listed a catalogue of complaints against the headmaster, including “misplaced priorities at the school level (GLBT, diversity, the beauty of other religions, as opposed to academic/curricular/global issues, Christian traditions, etc)”.
We have had gay students from the beginning. We now have transgender students; we have gay faculty. We have incredibly strict anti-bullying policies.
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After the emails emerged, Sparks issued an apology to the LGBT+ community.
Saul Benjamin said he was accused of ‘promoting a homosexual culture and agenda’ at the school.
“When in one of my emails I used language such as ‘there will never be an LGBT club’ at Epiphany, I was responding heatedly to how the headmaster had gone about initiating this club.
“It’s never been my intent to be unresponsive to the needs of the LGBTQ or any minority community. In fact the opposite is true, and I trust my actions moving forward will confirm that.”
Despite this, Benjamin has insisted that he was forced to resign and that school board members accused him of “promoting a homosexual culture and agenda”. He also claimed that two bisexual teachers were threatened with termination if they continued to discuss the LGBT+ club or provide private support to students.
The trial is ongoing.