(NEW YORK) — A former New York University professor claimed in a lawsuit that his decision to give actor/poet/artist/director/academic James Franco a D grade in a “Directing the Actor II” class during the spring semester of last year contributed to his being fired, according to a copy of the suit posted on TMZ.
Jose Angel Santana filed suit against the school in New York State Supreme Court, claiming a build-up of racial discrimination, and ultimately his decision to give Franco a D, led to the professor’s ouster.
“The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure,” Santana, 58, told The New York Post. “The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.”
According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Santana said he gave Franco a D after the 127 Hours star missed 12 of 14 classes.
“Upon information and belief, though Franco’s attendance and participation were similar in his other classes at NYU, most professors other than Dr. Santana gave Franco high grades,” court documents stated.
Franco spoke to the media about receiving a D in an acting class, however the lawsuit alleged the actor’s comments were “misleading and inaccurate” and caused the school to side with Franco and oust Santana.
Santana also alleged that Franco received good grades despite alleged poor attendance, because he hired one professor to write and direct a film and gave the film department chair a cameo in one of his films.
NYU spokesman John Beckman told E! the claims were “ridiculous” and that the school had not yet seen the lawsuit.
“Beyond that, it is regrettable and disappointing to see a faculty member — former or otherwise — discuss any student’s grade for the purpose of personal publicity,” he said.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Doug Criss, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Holly Yan and AnneClaire Stapleton, CNN