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Former NYU professor Jose Angel Santana apparently didn't get the memo stating that Hollywood celebrities and star athletes enjoy a double standard when it comes to receiving grades in college. Santana had the temerity to give capital "A" artist James Franco a "D" in his "Directing the Actor II" class, after the Pineapple Express star skipped out on twelve of the fourteen classes while studying for a master's in fine arts. And for treating Franco like a "real" student, Santana, who's suing for his old job back, claims he was publicly denigrated by Franco and terminated by the school.
Santana, in his new role as a martyr for academic integrity, 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."
Santana has been thrust into the role of an educational Serpico, blowing the whistle on colleagues at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts who handed out good grades to Franco despite his having blown off classes. One of those other professors, Jay Anania, had been hired by Franco to write and direct the film William Vincent, starring the golden boy himself, which was featured at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Santana suggests that Franco's high grades were part of a quid pro quo for hiring Anania. All that truancy also helps explain what appeared to be Franco's seemingly-impossible ubiquity.
According to court records, Santana also accused graduate film department chairman John Tintori of creating a conflict of interest by appearing in a small role in a Franco-financed film written and directed by Anania. Don't expect to see Santana in Franco's modern-day reboot of Don Quixote starring an all-NYU-professor cast, which may or may not be an actual thing.