Maybe being an Oscar-nominated actor, director, author, producer, screenwriter, performance artist, college instructor, and academic isn't as easy as it looks. Someone's finally gotten caught in the crossfire of James Franco's hectic career, and it's not the actor himself.

Jose Angel Santana, 58, a professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, filed a lawsuit on Friday against the university, claiming that he was fired from his position after he gave Franco, 33, a D in his class, Directing the Actor II. "The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that's for sure," Santana told the New York Post. "The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco."

Santana was not impressed by the hype, however. He claims he gave the Rise of the Planet of the Apes star the less-than-stellar grade after he showed up to only 2 of the 14 scheduled classes. The professor also accused NYU and the film department of pandering to the big name star. He claims that John Tintori, the graduate film department chairman, appeared in a film produced by Franco and directed by another NYU professor, Jay Anania. "In my opinion, they've turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco's purposes, a possession, something you can buy."

"We have not seen the lawsuit yet, but the claims we are seeing in the media are ridiculous," NYU spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement, reports E! News. "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."

Franco, who also recently taught a class at Tisch, has not yet commented.

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  • Matthew Zingg
    Matthew Zingg on

    I'm interested what reasons NYU will give for Santana's dismissal. Otherwise, a 'D' seems like a pretty generous grade to me. Most college programs I know of would fail you for that many absences, no questions asked.

  • A Grinshpan
    A Grinshpan on

    Ew, Franco is such a self-righteous jerk. Poor professor! He gets in a Hollywood hotshot's way, and he lost his job. That's terrible.

  • antonioberryman
    antonioberryman on

    Give the man his job back. If he deserved a D, he deserved a D. I've never seen any of James Franco's movies anyway…well, except Pineapple Express.

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