James Franco accused of being a bully

Former New York University professor Jose Angel Santana has filed a lawsuit against his former student, Oscar-nominated actor James Franco, citing the “disparaging and inaccurate public statements” Franco made about Santana after receiving a “D” in his class in 2010. “Whoever was in Clint Eastwood’s chair at the Republican National Convention was more present than Mr. Franco
was in my classes,” Santana said in a conversation with the New York Post. “He uses the bully pulpit of his celebrity to punish anyone who doesn’t do his bidding.”

This is actually the second time that Franco has been involved with a lawsuit with the former professor: back in November of last year (two months after he was fired from the institution), Santana filed a lawsuit against the University itself, making bold claims about the reasoning behind his firing. These claims included the fact that there was a school-wide conspiracy to let Franco slide through his studies without actually having to put in the work – a conspiracy Santana refused to take part in. He claims Franco failed to attend 12 of his 14 “Directing the Actor II” classes, and thus received the poor grade. His attendance record was reportedly just as bad in other classes, but a blind eye was turned to his shoddy attendance and workmanship. Franco has even gone on to teach a course at the school since graduating.

So what did Franco say, exactly? Well, following in the wake of the initial lawsuit, the Spider-Man actor told reporters he “didn’t want to waste my time with a bad teacher,” claiming Santana’s teaching skills were subpar. “I didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of those falsehoods,” Santana says. “I was outraged that someone with his attendance record at NYU had the audacity to make those statements.” Santana is seeking unspecified damages against the actor. ~Devin Garabedian

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Comments & Discussion

  1. CRTG • September 6, 2012 @ 8:38 AM

    SMr. Santana sounds a little un-balanced to me.

  2. bill • September 6, 2012 @ 9:23 AM

    umm did he not watch Freaks and Geeks?

  3. Bev • September 6, 2012 @ 9:35 AM

    If the teacher was so bad then why didn’t he drop the class.
    I also agree that Mr Santana does sound a little unbalanced.

  4. Sara • September 6, 2012 @ 11:21 AM

    And how does Franco know this guy is a sub-par teacher if he only went to 2 lectures?

  5. Victoria • September 6, 2012 @ 12:39 PM

    I agree… if the James felt that the Professor was incompetent, than he should have dropped the class and reported it to the Dean. However, I also believe that there should have been no special treatment for an actor who is absent. From my experience at University, attendance is counted as a percentage of your grade – depending on the actual amount (ie. 10%), it is possible to pass a course even with poor attendance as long as the rest of the work and assignments recieve the necessary grades to make up for the loss.

  6. Chris • September 6, 2012 @ 2:57 PM

    Franco is so full of himself – I think there are 2 sides to every story but lean toward the prof here

  7. Sol • September 6, 2012 @ 3:01 PM

    Hey geniuses that wrote the article – saying someone uses their “bully pulpit” is not the same as calling them a “bully”. Ignoring the meaning of words to sensationalize a headline is irresponsible journalism, no?

  8. Jerry • September 6, 2012 @ 3:10 PM

    Attendance was rarely required when I was in University, and we certainly weren’t GRADED on it like children. So long as you turn in the work, that should be enough. Sounds like JF didn’t.

  9. candice • September 6, 2012 @ 3:31 PM

    As someone that has taught labs at a university for almost 10 years, I am on the side of the Professor. If a student isn’t putting in the work they should not receive a passing grade, no matter what the reason (and believe me, students come up with all kinds of reasons why they can’t attend class or hand in assignments).

    If he was indeed fired for that reason, kudos to him for standing up to the university!

  10. Joseph Walther • September 6, 2012 @ 4:48 PM

    If you know how academia works, especially the process of peer evaluation, then there leaves little doubt that Santana was mobbed by his fellow faculty members for doing his job. Franco has to study according to the standards of the professor. The syllabus, which contained Santana’s standards on attendance, is in essence a contract between student and professor. From my understanding, the VPAA (Vice President of Academic Affairs) at the institution intervened to expect faculty to grade Franco in a specific way. Departing from the VPAA’s plan resulted in mobbing behavior onto Santana from his peers. The peer evaluation committee didn’t support Santana’s reappointment, which was “justified” by embellishing his weaknesses and ignoring his strengths in the evaluation. The chair and VPAA followed suit. Santana, who is untenured, is less expensive to gauge out of the department than the tenured Stepford faculty in his department who ask “How High?” before the administration says “Jump!”. Readers have to understand the intricate, nebulous and disenfranchising process of peer evaluation in academia in order to assess Santana’s lawsuit accurately. If I were him, I’d do the same thing. He might might be unbalanced, but his choice to sue is made with strategic accuracy; and any jab at his mental state is textbook ad hominem which should suggest that Santana’s argument is meritorious.

  11. Phil • September 6, 2012 @ 5:19 PM

    I don’t think James missed much by not passing Mr Santana’s “Directing the Actor II” class. It seems like a frivolous lawsuit by Santana to try and get compensation. I suggest he just try to find another tenure or maybe he needs a complete career change, he doesn’t seem to be the prof. I would want either.

  12. Garry • September 6, 2012 @ 6:38 PM

    @Joseph Walter huh? Man now YOU sound mentally unbalanced! High speech I reckon my dear lad lol

  13. C-Dub • September 6, 2012 @ 7:36 PM

    Suing the famous actor after you’re fired…hmm suspicious. I was taught in legal class sue everyone and one just might pay. But really who cares and maybe it’s like a genius who is in a class and is bored because he’s not learning something and is just attending because it’s part of the curriculum. Really, who’s the Oscar nominated actor who’s worked with many great directors and really needs to take a class called Directing the Actor????? What’s the professor done other than suing people and the school.

  14. Sara • September 6, 2012 @ 9:44 PM

    I’m a big fan of James Franco, but I don’t agree with his attitude on this one. I, my self failed English class in collage because of attendance, even tho I got 100% on all my tests, I didn’t get mad nor did I sue anybody. That’s the rules, if your in school you should attend class, if you don’t have the time or the willingness to do so then don’t even bother registering.

  15. L • September 7, 2012 @ 12:07 AM

    Duh?????? why is he in school anyway? no more acting roles???? can someone say LOSER!!!!!

  16. lol • September 7, 2012 @ 3:43 AM

    I never knew you could sue for bullying. Ah right, he’s rich.

  17. Jonathan • September 7, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

    The teacher is just looking for a fast buck.. How long ago was this since he graduated and now he is trying to get him back for what.. A grudge.. I think this teacher should move on with his life and stop the madness. They didn’t click, that is clear, but to try to go after him for the second time.. sounds like someone is hungry for some money.. Dude is wasting his time. Franco is a good actor and he has done a good number of movies.. So Santana can deal..

  18. Ruth Gutierrez • September 8, 2012 @ 11:13 AM

    I stand behind the professor. You miss12 classes out of fourteen means you did nothing toget marks on, so if I was the professor he would have gotten a fail. If you were the teacher and lost your job because of a bratt actor wouldn’t you be pis…. off too?

  19. anonymous2 • September 8, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

    I’m a fan of James Franco but it’s really stupid of him to try and do so much at one time.We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

  20. Jo • September 8, 2012 @ 4:47 PM

    The teacher sounds unbalanced? How exactly?

  21. Grammar Bitch • September 16, 2012 @ 12:27 PM

    Sara – I find it difficult to believe that you failed English because of poor attendance. “Myself” is one word, not two. College is spelled with two e’s, not “collage.” When you use the word “your” to mean “you are,” it’s supposed to be spelled “you’re.”

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