Nicholas Sparks is off the hook for allegedly firing the former headmaster of his Christian School, Epiphany School of Global Studies. Saul Benjamin accused Nicholas of being a homophobic asshole who fired him because Saul thought that “global studies” meant acknowledging gay people exist. But this is that “Zealous Christian Global Studies” so you need to exclude anything referring to any kind of non-Christian religion or lifestyle. Nicholas apologized that you think he hates gays just because he loves Jesus. Clearly he knew that he wasn’t going to be punished for hating the gays, and he absolutely was not. A jury found in favor of Nicholas and decided he doesn’t owe Saul anything.
Deadline says that Nicholas is not in trouble, not that I thought he would be. Despite emails showing that Nicholas didn’t really want an LGBTQ group at his Christian school, a jury thinks there was no harm and no foul for firing Saul. Saul claimed that Nicholas slandered him after the firing, saying he had a mental illness and talking shit about him to job recruiters and other people at the school. Saul worked there for less than a year.
The federal jury decided that Saul had resigned from his job days before Sparks and the school actually went through with firing for causes including: lying about his work experience and job performance. One example from Nicholas’ attorneys was that Saul had lied about the school’s finances being slightly above water when they were actually deeply in the red. Which means… that Nicholas’ school is broke? And Nicholas testified in court that Saul talked shit, referring to people who disagreed with him as “bigots and racists” behind their backs.
Nicholas made a statement about this:
“The verdict speaks volumes, and completely rejects the campaign waged by Mr. Benjamin and his lawyers in an attempt to discredit Epiphany and me.”
And his lawyers also dug the knife into Saul for overcoming his evidence-based accusations of bigotry:
“We are very pleased with today’s verdict in favor of our client, Nicholas Sparks, his Foundation, and the Epiphany School of Global Studies. We were able to present in the courtroom the full, complete and accurate story of Epiphany’s unfortunate experience with Mr. Benjamin as head of school. The jury’s verdict confirms what we have been saying since this case first began almost six years ago: Nicholas and the School’s Trustees always acted in the best interests of the School, its children, their families, and the faculty and staff. As we told the jury this morning, this case was about holding Mr. Benjamin accountable for his own performance and actions during his brief tenure as head of school. Mr. Benjamin’s counsel sought to distract the jury and the public from that core issue with a selective, inflammatory narrative. The jury’s verdict has exposed that version of events as simply wrong. Nicholas is grateful to his family, friends, and readers for their support throughout the trial and this entire case. On behalf of Nicholas and the Epiphany School we appreciate the time and dedication of the jury, the Court, and our Epiphany School colleagues.”
So there you have it, Nicholas doesn’t owe Saul a dime. But I’m sure he’s not even done with Saul and we can expect a character in his next book to be an incompetent headmaster who can’t tie his own shoelaces named Paul Tenjavim. Of course the plot will center around a white woman who falls in love and then dies, and Paul will be the guy who keeps getting in the way of the pure hetero love story before his untimely end being struck by God’s lightning. Don’t screw with writers, they’ll drag you forever!