It may be hard to believe, but the highly-loved creator of The Notebook doesn’t have the most highly respected reputation. The author of a series of unbearable rom-coms, Sparks also founded a Christian high school in 2006, where he soon become notorious for making remarks that would put Donald Sterling to shame. Saul Hillel Benjamin, the school’s former headmaster, is now suing Sparks for some of his racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and wow, anti-Alzheimer’s remarks.
According to the lawsuit, Sparks refused to respond to criticisms that the school lacked diversity, even though only two out of five-hundred-and-fourteen students at the Epiphany School for Global Studies identified as Black. Not only that, Sparks felt compelled to add that “Black students are too poor and can’t do the academic work.” I mean, I have no doubt that the coursework behind a Christian-themed school named “Epiphany” was too rigorous for all of us, but c’mon. When Benjamin met with a member of the NAACP, Sparks encouraged him to “engage only in private and less visible contact with African-Americans.” I’m not sure what the goal behind that would be, but my hunch says it’s something real evil.
TMZ also reports that Sparks was prone to homophobic remarks, like the time gay students complained of bullying and Sparks not only ignored their claims, but went on to support a group that supported the HOMO-CAUST (their words, not mine). There is no word yet whether Sparks has a homo-caust screenplay in the works, but if A Walk to Remember is possible, so is anything.
In perhaps the most cinematic display of irony, Sparks fired Benjamin, and then told the whole school to ignore whatever he had to say because he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. All this from a man who wrote a useless book about two people who found love, despite their dementia. Obviously, Sparks’ comments were brutal and offensive, but you’ve got to appreciate the beautiful narrative arc.
No word yet on if/when it’s going to trial, but I’ll gleefully update you if he’s punished.