NEW YORK (CBS SF/TMZ) – According to TMZ, a new lawsuit by a former NYU professor claims he was terminated from his job because he dared give actor & NYU student, James Franco a “D.”

José Angel Santana, who taught the Palo Alto native in his “Directing the Actor” class, is now suing the University for his job back, claiming he was wrongfully terminated… simply because he gave Franco a low grade.

According to the lawsuit, Santana dropped the “D” on Franco for missing 12 of the 14 classes in the MFA course. Considering a photo by TMZ posted back in 2009 , shows Franco passed out at one of his Columbia classes, those claims may not be too far off.

When people found out that Santana gave Franco a “D”, Santana claims he suffered all sorts of public humiliation at the hands of James Franco and the University itself, which ultimately fired him.

Santana said he was the only professor with the “cojones” to give Franco a bad grade, insisting other teachers played favorites with Franco, including fellow professor Jay Anania, who Franco hired to write and direct the film “Shadows & Lies.”

Santana groused, “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 Post, “The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.”

NYU claims it hasn’t seen the papers but calls what has been reported about the lawsuit “ridiculous,” adding, “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.”

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