James Franco may have graduated from NYU‘s Tisch School of the Arts this year with an MFA, but it sounds like he was a pretty shitty student. First he missed most of the meetings for one of his courses; then he got his professor fired because the guy gave him a nearly failing grade.
The New York Post spoke with José Angel Santana, who’s suing NYU to get his job back. He taught James in Directing the Actor II, but the Oz star missed 12 of the 14 classes. I had professors who would kick you out of the class for missing half as many meetings, but Santana decided to compromise and give James a D. Then he got fired.
Santana believes that NYU sided with James and has been in a conflict of interest from the start. He listed multiple professors who he says traded good grades with James in order to be cast in his short films. James’ access to prestigious film festivals means that his professors’ writing and acting gets seen a lot more quickly than if they had helped on a normal student’s film.
“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,” Santana said. “In my opinion, they’ve turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy.”
James maintains that he’s the victim here. “I did the work, I did well in everything else,” he told Showbiz411 in September 2010. (But see, the point of college is to get real-world experience — if you’re somewhere like NYU — while still attending classes.) He suggested that Santana was threatened by having a real-life celebrity in his class, but I’m more inclined to believe that NYU gave him special treatment. I’ve heard the university called “opportunistic” while I was there, and James Franco was one of the first celebrities in a while to deign to attend our school. Why wouldn’t they want to stay on his good side?
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