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article imageActor James Franco gets a D in acting class, his prof gets fired

By Joan Firstenberg     Dec 20, 2011 in World
New York - New York University professor Jose Angel Santana gave actor James Franco a D in his "Directing the Actor II" class after he missed 12 out of 14 classes. The school's response was not to renew Santana's teaching contract.
Former NYU professor Santana has decided to sue NYU to try to get his job back. Santana says after he gave the actor the D, he was publicly ridiculed by Franco, and then by his department, which axed him.
Franco was also taking other classes at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts while pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts and Santana says he cut classes in the same way with those professors, but they gave him good grades. Nerve reports that one of those, named Jay Anania, had been enlisted by Franco to write and direct the film "William Vincent", starring James Franco himself. The film was a feature of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. And now, Santana says he thinks that Franco was given high grades by those professors because it was part of the deal that they were invited to do the movie with him.
Santana told The New York Post:
"The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that's for sure. The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco. In my opinion, they've turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco's purposes, a possession, something you can buy."
Also, court records show that the chairman of the film department John Tintori may have created a conflict of interest after he appeared in a small role in a Franco-financed film written and directed by professor, Anania.
John Beckman, an NYU spokesman said the university is displeased with all of this.
“It is regrettable and disappointing to see a faculty member — former or otherwise — discuss any student’s grade for the purpose of personal publicity,”
Santana complains that Franco got it all wrong when, speaking out about his grade, he accused the professor with having a problem having a celebrity in his class. Franco told,
“I did the work. I did well in everything else.”
Matthew Blit, an employment attorney is Santana lawyer. He says Franco tried to cast the professor as a fool for giving a Golden Globe-winning actor a bad grade.
Franco has directed 13 works — most are short films or documentaries. He also is an impressive student at some of the best schools in the nation. reports that Franco received his B.A. From UCLA in 2008. He then got an MFA at Columbia University in 2010. He also achieved his Ph.D from Yale in English. In addition, he's been accepted into the University Houston's doctoral program in which he will enroll sometime next year. Right now, he's taking classes at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in filmmaking.
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