James Franco

James Franco Credit: Getty Images

A New York University spokesman Monday dismissed as "ridiculous" media reports that a professor was fired for giving actor James Franco a D in his class.

In the lawsuit filed Friday, which the spokesman said NYU had not yet seen, José Angel Santana of the graduate film school said he was "shouted at and reprimanded" by the department chair after giving the actor a D in a directing course for which Franco had missed 12 of 14 classes.

This reprimand was the culmination, the suit claimed, of ongoing racial discrimination since 2008 of the faculty's only black or Hispanic member.

Santana's attorney, labor-law specialist Matthew Blit, told Newsday that Santana "was unlawfully discriminated against and unlawfully terminated by NYU based on his ethnicity and various other intertwined factors," including a conflict-of-interest allegation he leveled against another professor. "Dr. Santana reported what he perceived to be ethical violations to his then-supervisor John Tintori" that Franco "was financing films of one of his professors." Santana remains without a position, Blit said.

The NYU spokesman told E! News that "it is regrettable and disappointing to see a faculty member -- former or otherwise -- discuss any student's grade for the purpose of personal publicity."

Franco's spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

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