Novelist Nicholas Sparks sued over allegations of racism
by Carol Thompson
The plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against Nicholas Sparks made serious allegations about the bestselling author. Saul Hillel Benjamin claims that Sparks is a homophobic, anti-Semitic racist, according to the lawsuit filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of North Carolina.
Benjamin is suing Sparks in his official and individual capacity, the Epiphany School of Global Studies, The Nicholas Sparks Foundation and three members of the Board of Trustees in his claim that Sparks fired him as the Epiphany School’s headmaster due to disagreements over various beliefs.
The lawsuit alleges that Sparks has “repulsive views about African-Americans, LGBT individuals and non-Christians. Benjamin claims that Sparks told him “black students are too poor and can’t do the academic work. ” Benjamin also claims that Sparks, because of his religious views, ridiculed and reject his efforts to protect students who were being bullied because of their sexual orientation.
Sparks, whose school is located in New Bern, hired Benjamin in February 2013 as the headmaster after the former headmaster was fired due to criminal allegations of fraud and misconduct, according to court papers. Benjamin, who is Jewish, began working at the school July 2013.
Among the many allegations of racism is that one of the board members would drive 35 miles to go to a Wal-Mart store because the store in New Bern has “only black people” working.
Benjamin further claims that the Epiphany School has only enrolled a handful of black students and that none have graduated and that as of August 2013, of the 514 member student body only two students were African-American or biracial African-American.
The lawsuit contends that when Benjamin attempted to investigate bullying, Sparks asked him, “What’s with this gay club?” and told him “You gotta stop this” in reference to Benjamin’s support for the bullied students. It continues that on October 13, 2013, Benjamin was told by “certain” board members to stop supporting students who had been bullied due to their sexual identities.
While the lawsuit doesn’t name Sparks’ wife Cathy Sparks, she is referenced for an allegation that she, along with a board member, went to his home demanded he answer a series of offensive invasive questions about his religious beliefs.
Benjamin was fired Nov. 21, 2013. He also claims that Sparks defamed him by telling others that he was suffering from mental illness.
The plaintiff requested a jury trial and did not name a dollar amount for damages.