JosÃ© Angel Santana used to teach Rise of the Planet of the Apes star James Franco in his "Directing the Actor" class at New York University. But now the former professor is suing the University, claiming that he was wrongly fired, writes TMZ.com.
Remarkably, Santana cites the key reason for his dismissal being that he gave Franco a low grade.
Franco was given a D for missing 12 of the 14 classes in the MFA course. When Franco became aware of his grade, Santana claims to have suffered all sorts of public humiliation at the hands of Franco and the University itself, with the fallout ultimately leading to his dismissal.
Santana further claims that other teachers played favorites with Franco, including fellow professor Jay Anania, who was subsequently hired to write and direct the film "Shadows & Lies" in which Franco starred.
"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 New York Post:
"The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco."
Officials from New York University have called the lawsuit "rididculous".
"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," said a spokesperson.
Something of an academic hobbyist – Franco also has a degree in creative writing from Columbia and is currently working towards an English doctorate from Yale University.
He was recently accepted into the University of Houston's doctoral program in literature and creative writing, which will begin in the fall of 2012.