Jose Angel Santana: Since I Didn't Kiss Usually Absent Star's Butt, I Paid Price

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He’s Hollywood “A” list. But Oscar nominee James Franco got a “D” in a graduate class at NYU, and a professor claims that’s one reason the school fired him.

Franco played one of the bad guys in “Spider-Man 3.” Now, he is again being cast as a villain, this time in a discrimination lawsuit filed by Jose Angel Santana.

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“It’s a very, as I call it, ‘Franco friendly’ environment, that is willing to bend over backwards to curry favor with him,” Santana told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello on Monday.

Santana taught Franco in a directing class in 2010, while the actor was enrolled in NYU’s graduate film program.

He’s the star of “127 Hours,” a role that earned him an Oscar nomination last year, but the star didn’t have much time for classes at NYU, missing 12 of 14 weekly sessions.

Santana said Franco deserved an “F,” but he gave him a “D.”

“He got a generous grade,” Santana said.

Getting a “D” in Professor Santana’s class clearly made an impression on Franco. He talked about it earlier this year, saying online “He’s funny, he’s a funny guy.”

Franco laughed, but the lawsuit claims NYU was not amused.

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“Anything that didn’t curry favor with Mr. Franco was a problem,” Santana said.

This was especially the case after Santana complained about an alleged conflict of interest. Franco made a movie called “Shadows and Lies” with another NYU professor.

“Other professors, obviously, had an incentive to see James Franco succeed,” employment attorney Matthew Blit said.

The school said the Franco allegations are “ridiculous” and accused Santana of seeking “personal publicity.”

Franco, meanwhile, is still straddling the red carpet and the ivory tower. He’s teaching a class at NYU this semester.

Santana also claims he suffered racial discrimination, as one of the few minorities on the film school faculty.

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