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This time last year -- when James Franco was James Francoing his way all over the Internet and you couldn't make one mouse-click without stumbling onto a story about his latest art project, movie, term paper, short film, 'General Hospital' appearance or Oscar-hosting duties -- it was revealed that while enrolled in an NYU acting class, Franco received a D-grade. The irony! Well, it seems that the professor who taught Franco in 'Directing the Actor II' was subsequently fired -- and he's about as happy with that outcome as you were with 'Your Highness.' (CHEAP SHOT!)

Jose Angel Santana has filed a lawsuit against NYU after losing his job, perhaps in part -- he claims -- because of the bad grade he gave Franco.

"The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that's for sure," Santana told the New York Post. "The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco."

This fall, Franco taught his own class at NYU.

"In my opinion, they've turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco's purposes," Santana said, "a possession, something you can buy."

Santana says he gave Franco the poor grade because of excessive absences; the star missed 12 out of 14 classes in his quest for a master's degree in fine arts.

In the complaint, which Roger Friedman at Hollywood411 claims to have, Santana blames racial discrimination as a major reason for being fired, and states that "another professor, Jay Anania, also the brother of the late Elizabeth Edwards, had it in for him." Anania wrote and directed the 2010 film 'William Vincent,' which featured Franco.

Last year, Franco -- who was famously photographed asleep while attending a lecture at Columbia University in New York -- said he was OK with people underestimating his commitment to academia.

"If they want to paint the picture of the stoner going to school, it's kind of OK with me because it actually takes a lot of pressure off," he told Movieline. "If that's the way they want to depict me, it's fine. Because my schoolwork isn't a performance. I'm going there because I'm getting so much out of it and I'm getting to work with all of my favorite writers or professors. So if that's how they want to depict it, it's not taking away from why I'm there. And it takes pressure off. So you kind of have to roll with it."

Franco's representatives have not yet responded to Moviefone's request for comment regarding the lawsuit.

RELATED: Check out video animation of Franco's NYU scuffle from Taiwanese news service NMA

[via NYP]

[Photo: WireImage]



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