The James Franco Defamation Case Study
“Celebrated actor…filmmaker, lecturer, and author” (TM his lawyer) James Franco once got into a defamation brawl with one of his professors, Jose Santana. This a summary of the case.
Franco enrolled in Santana’s NYU class, Directing the Actor, and according to the professor, Franco only showed twice, resulting in a D for the semester.
Apparently, the university fired Santana shortly after Franco got his near-failing grade, and the professor felt his walking papers were courtesy of Franco’s D. For its part, the university cited unsatisfactory teaching as the culprit. Livid about the dismissal, Santana started suing.
Why The Professor Sued For Defamation
“If Santana felt he was unfairly terminated, he should have sued the school — not Franco — right?” Yes. 100% correct. And Santana did sue the school, at first.
At the height of D-gate, however, Franco publicly snarked that Santana was “awful.” And the actor didn’t stop there, adding:
- “[He / Franco] didn’t feel like I needed to waste my time with a bad teacher”;
- “No teacher will ever be fired from NYU for giving a student a ‘D.’ He wasn’t fired, he was asked not to come back after three years because they didn’t think he was a good teacher”; and
- “[Santana was] not going to be hired at another institution.”
Yeah, so, things got messy. In response, Santana filed a defamation lawsuit against the actor and called Franco “a bully” who used his “celebrity pulpit” to “punish anyone who [didn’t] do his bidding.” “I was outraged that someone with his attendance record at NYU had the audacity to make those statements,” groused Santana.
James Franco Defamation Case: Who Won?
For awhile, it seemed like Santana may have had a decent shot at winning; there was even a cloak-and-dagger process serving sub-plot. But alas, a court room showdown never happened. Several weeks after news of James Franco’s defamation case hit headlines, Santana’s attorney released a statement, which, in part, read:
“The matter has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”
So there you have it. Like the majority of slander and libel lawsuits involving celebrities, they settled — the true resolution locked away from the public gaze forever.
TL;DR: The James Franco Defamation Case: One of James Franco’s professors sued the actor for defamation over some public squabbling over a D grade. The men avoided a trial by settling out of court.