The actor, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for the Danny Boyle film 127 Hours, was enrolled on a fine arts course and was due to attend a film directing course. However, he only attended two of professor Jose Angel Santana’s 14 classes and received a ‘D’ grade for his efforts. 

Santana, who is suing the university to try to get his job back, says that “the school bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure. 

“In my opinion they have turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy.”

Santana says that the university wanted high profile celebrities on their courses and that other professors gave Franco good grades.

According to the lawsuit he has filed, Mr Santana claims the university gave Mr Franco good grades after he hired one of their professors, Jay Anania, to write and direct a short film. He has also claimed that the graduate film department’s chairman was given a cameo role in the film. 

James Franco, who starred this year in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was later hired by the university as a lecturer on how to adapt poetry into short films, despite the fact that he had been snapped by a fellow student sleeping through one of his lectures.