A former New York University professor is suing the school for wrongful termination, claiming he was fired for giving actor James Franco a “D” in his “Directing the Actor” class.
According to TMZ, Professor José Angel Santana says the “Planet of the Apes” star was given the unsatisfactory grade for missing 12 of the 14 classes. Santana claims that when word of his grading got out, he endured public humiliation and was subsequently relieved of his job.
“The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure,” the 58-year-old teacher told the New York Post. “The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.”
Despite nearly failing Santana’s course, Franco reportedly performed well in all of his other courses, a feat the jilted teacher attributes to the pupil’s celebrity status.
“In my opinion, they’ve turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy,” he said.
Adding credence to Santana’s claims is that fact that Franco hired one of his professors, Jay Anania, to write and direct his 2010 movie “Shadows & Lies.” Additionally, the NYU graduate film department chairman, John Tintori, made a cameo in the film.
In a statement to TMZ, the university admonishes Santana, calling the lawsuit “ridiculous” and adding, “It is regrettable and disappointing to see a faculty member – former or otherwise – discuss any student’s grade for the purpose of his or her personal publicity.”
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