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NYU Professor

I Got Fired for

Giving James Franco a 'D'

12/19/2011 9:37 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

A former NYU professor claims he got the chop because he dared give James Franco a "D" -- this according to a new lawsuit.

José Angel Santana -- who taught Franco in his "Directing the Actor" class -- is now suing the University for his job back, claiming he was wrongfully terminated ... because he's an Hispanic man with the audacity to give Franco a low grade.

According to the lawsuit, Santana dropped the D on Franco for missing 12 of the 14 classes in the MFA course. No shocker, considering the pic TMZ posted back in 2009 ... showing Franco passed out at one of his Columbia classes.

1219_james_franco_EXWM_02When people found out that Santana gave Franco a D, Santana claims he suffered all sorts of public humiliation -- at the hands of James Franco ... and the University itself, which ultimately fired him ... something he claims would never have happened to a white professor.

According to Santana, other teachers played favorites with Franco, including fellow professor Jay Anania ... who Franco hired to write and direct the film "Shadows & Lies." 

Santana groused, "In my opinion, they've turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco's purposes, a possession, something you can buy."

Santana told the Post, “The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.”

10:28 AM PT: NYU claims it hasn't seen the papers but calls what has been reported about the lawsuit "ridiculous" -- 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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tgrfan42069 hit the nail on the head.we dont know hot the professor is.he could have had the this is james franco im gonna show him who is boss in this class room attitudes.

1039 days ago


Sorry Franco, you have to do the work like the rest of us.

1039 days ago


I saw this video a few months ago and then later learned that Franco had taken a place lecturing at NYU and it did make me wonder whatever happened to that teacher...

1039 days ago


If anyone actually thought he was going to class like a regular student and actually earning good grades and all these degrees, they need to be culled from our gene pool.

1039 days ago


Well I see Franco's team has their full force of spin doctors working in the comments here - so this post is pretty much done.

1039 days ago


I hope this isn't true. If it is, and Franco deserved the grade, then the Prof should definitely sue NYU. I hate it when celebs or rich brats get special treatment!!! You get the grade you EARN, PERIOD. Think of all the students that are busting their butts -- Franco should not get to slack off and still get a good grade.

1039 days ago


come on people did we really expect this stupid jerk to pass a school course? ya did good sue the crap outta that wonder we have so many lame and idiots in the entertainment industry.....teachers blinded by celebrity!

1039 days ago


I don't doubt for a minute that the professor is right here. The problem is, by going public, he has completely shot himself in the foot, as publicly sharing a student's grade and attendance (even if he is a jerk) is a serious FERPA violation.

1039 days ago


Who is James Franco? Literally never heard of him.

1039 days ago


First of all, I can't stand Franco. He comes off as an entitled whiner, so I'm inclined to believe the story. That said, I'm curious whether there were other factors involved in the teacher's firing. I taught at university for a couple of years. If you give too many bad grades and/or get too many poor student reviews, your job can be at risk. If Santana failed a lot of people other than Franco, he may have a hard time proving his case.

1039 days ago


I am very familiar with the academic world, and I'd be shocked if the story is as this professor claims. If he is a tenured professor it would be virtually impossible to fire him. If he is a tenure track assistant professor they still couldn't fire him over something like this. They might deny him tenure, but you only come up for tenure after 7 years. If he is a non-tenure professor they couldn't fire him for this but they could choose not to renew his teaching contract when it came up for renewal.

I strongly suspect the James Franco thing has nothing to do with it unless he unfairly went after Franco (sort of the opposite of playing favorites).

1039 days ago


I remember reading an article about how he took 62 units in 1 quarter. That is insane and virtually impossible unless you are a genius or devote every second of your life to schoolwork. Since he was working on other projects at the time, I don't think that is the case. The fact that a university would allow it reeks of favoritism. I actually like Franco as an actor, but his entire university education seems a bit questionable.

1039 days ago


OH GOD. Stop playing the race card.

1039 days ago


Should gav Franco an F and the Prof. should get the farm from him AND NYU(Beat Franco's ass too.)

1039 days ago


Franco didnt go 2 class. that's where the F comes from. Franco probably sent a "big CYA donation" 2 the trustees.

1039 days ago
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