(JTA) — Novelist Nicholas Sparks is being sued for racial and religious discrimination by the former headmaster of a private school he founded.
Saul Hillel Benjamin, a practicing Quaker who is Jewish by background, filed a federal lawsuit against Sparks charging the best-selling author with making racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks while Benjamin headed The Epiphany School, a K-12 school Sparks founded in New Bern, N.C.
The lawsuit, which was filed Oct. 2 in a U.S. District Court in North Carolina, also names the school and the Nicholas Sparks Foundation.
Benjamin was hired before the 2013-14 school year with a four-year contract.
According to the lawsuit, “Sparks unlawfully engaged in relentless and discriminatory campaign to humiliate, degrade and defame Saul Hillel Benjamin — Epiphany’s most visible employee of Jewish heritage and ethnicity.”
The lawsuit also states that Sparks and other members of the board on numerous occasions “displayed contempt for Mr. Benjamin’s Jewish heritage and Quaker faith.”
Sparks’ lawyer Scott Schwimer defended the author in a statement.
“As a gay Jewish man who has represented Nick for almost 20 years, I find these allegations completely ludicrous and offensive,” Schwimer said.