One of the unfortunate consequences of this age with a widespread use of social media is how easily well-meaning and popular personalities can be laid low by the reveal of past social media entries with negative connotations to their current public images. Filmmaker James Gunn briefly lost his chance to direct a third “Guardians of the Galaxy” film for Disney-Marvel after he was let go following the leak of his 2008-2012 Twitter posts with taboo subjects like rape and pedophilia. A backlash of Gunn’s supporters was needed to reinstate him. The same situation now befalls famous author Nicholas Sparks lately.
According to USA Today, two emails written by Nicholas Sparks to the former headmaster of the Epiphany School of Global Studies which he co-founded in 2008 have since been resurfaced to the public as containing vitriol against the LGBTQ community, written in the best-selling author’s own hand. These emails had been addressed to Saul Benjamin, at the time headmaster of the Epiphany School in New Bern, North Carolina. In them, Sparks had lambasted Benjamin’s initiatives to foster diversity in the institution, which the writer describes as promoting a “pro-gay” agenda. Sparks also criticized the former headmaster’s plan to open a school club for LGBTQ students.
In response to the emails, which were featured in an expose by pop culture opinion news site The Daily Beast, Sparks issued a statement on his official Facebook page on Monday, June 18. Here he apologized to the LGBTQ community for the hurtful content on his past emails, which is a marked contrast to his openly accepting public image even though his published novels are known to feature Christian morality. Sparks noted that he regrets writing the content of the emails, which had been born out of frustration with Benjamin. The two have long been embroiled in a years-spanning lawsuit.
“It’s never been my intent to be unresponsive to the needs of the LGBTQ or any minority community,” Nicholas Sparks said in his Facebook post. “In fact, the opposite is true, and I trust my actions moving forward will confirm that.” The author reiterated that despite his reputation as a Christian-themed writer, he keeps to the commandment of loving God and neighbor, with the latter including LGBTQ persons. Such was the founding principle of the Epiphany School, a private Christian college-prep institution which fosters international travel for students and encourages learning for a whole lifetime.
Sparks is famous for his romance novels such as “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember” and “Message in a Bottle,” several of which have been adapted into film. “A Walk to Remember,” despite poor critic reviews, was a modest 2002 box-office hit thanks to its lead cast of Shane West and Mandy Moore. His first literary success, “The Notebook,” also became a movie in 2004, with a TV series follow-up being developed for The CW.
Image from The Hollywood Reporter