A professor who was fired by New York University has filed a lawsuit claiming he was dismissed for giving celebrity student James Franco a D grade for poor attendance.
Dr José Angel Santana, who taught as an assistant arts professor on the actor’s graduate film course, says that Franco – who supplements his acting career with stints as a novelist, installation artist, film director, soap star and part-time lecturer at NYU – attended just two of his 14 lectures on a course called Directing the Actor II. Santana alleges that the university has given the star preferential treatment because of his celebrity status. “The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure,” he told the New York Post. “The university has done everything in its power to curry favour with James Franco.”
Santana also claims that Franco received good grades from his former colleagues despite similar levels of absence from their lectures. He says that this was in return for the publicity the actor’s enrolment has brought the school and because Franco has collaborated with faculty members on independent film projects. William Vincent, a drama starring Franco that was released in 2010, was directed by NYU professor Jay Anania. The film featured a walk-on part for John Tintori, the graduate film department chairman.