A lawsuit filed against James Franco by a disgruntled university professor has been thrown out of court. Former New York University lecturer Jose Angel Santana filed a defamation lawsuit against the Spider-Man star in September (12), claiming the actor made "disparaging and inaccurate public statements" about him after receiving a poor grade in his class.
The star hit back by filing his own set of documents, asking the case to be thrown out due to free speech laws.
Justice Saliann Scarpulla, the judge presiding over the case, sided with Franco on Wednesday (10Apr13) and tossed out the lawsuit on technical grounds, according to the New York Daily News.
Jose Angel Santana filed a defamation lawsuit against the 127 Hours star in September (12), claiming he made "disparaging and inaccurate public statements" against him after receiving a poor grade in his class two years ago (10).
He dubbed Franco a "bully" for comments the actor made about him in the media. In one interview, the Spider-Man star called Santana "awful" and "a bad teacher".
The professor named NYU as a defendant, and now officials at the university have spoken out, asking a New York judge to dismiss the plaintiff's claims, stating, "The comments at issue consisted of nothing other than Franco's personal opinions regarding Santana's teaching skills... Franco's description of Santana as 'awful' does not have a precise meaning, nor... is it capable of being proven true or false."
The NYU officials insist other comments made by Franco about his former professor are little more than "rhetorical hyperbole", while heads at the university insist they cannot be held responsible for what the actor says to the media.
A statement from the school, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, reads: "Franco's comments were made in response to a reporter's question during a question-and-answer session in advance of a screening of Franco's new film.
"When considering the forum in which the comments were made, as well as the fact that Franco is a famous actor and director who has many duties and responsibilities outside the scope of his employment as an adjunct professor at NYU, no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were made in the scope of his NYU employment."
Jose Angel Santana took court action last year (11) against New York University (NYU), alleging he was unfairly dismissed from his job after giving the 127 Hours star a 'D' grade for cutting class.
Now he has lodged papers at Manhattan Supreme Court against the actor himself, demanding unspecified damages following comments Franco made in April (12) about his time at the university.
Santana tells the New York Post, "I didn't deserve to be on the receiving end of those falsehoods. I was outraged that someone with his attendance record at NYU had the audacity to make those statements."
Franco allegedly missed 12 of Santana's 14 filmmaking classes during his time studying at the university, but he alleges Santana is wrong to assert he was fired from the institution for giving him a low grade.
Jose Angel Santana, who taught the Spider-Man actor a filmmaking class, claims he was unfairly dismissed from his teaching job at the Manhattan university soon after handing Oscar nominee Franco a 'D' grade for missing 12 out of 14 of his Directing the Actor classes.
In legal papers obtained by TMZ.com, Santana further alleges that Franco made "several public disparaging and inaccurate statements" about his professor after claiming he had received the poor grade for an acting class.
The court documents state: "The resulting publicity ridiculed Dr Santana allegedly for giving an award-winning actor a 'D' in acting, even though the 'D' was actually in directing actors, and for abhorrent attendance."
The 58 year old is also alleging he suffered from "discrimination and harassment based upon race and color".
NYU bosses have yet to read the lawsuit allegations, but they have expressed their disdain at Santana's decision to go public with the fall-out as he attempts to win his job back.
Addressing the legal action in a statement, school officials say: "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."
Jose Angel Santana, who taught the Spider-Man actor at New York University (NYU), has filed a lawsuit against the institution, claiming he was unfairly dismissed from his teaching job.
The 58 year old alleges his firing came not long after he handed the Oscar nominee a 'D' grade for allegedly missing some of his classes.
He tells the New York Post, "The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that's for sure. The university has done everything in its power to curry favour with James Franco... 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 has filed legal papers at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York in a bid to win his job back.
If there’s one positive thing about Delta Farce is that is actually follows a tried and true comedy formula-- namely the fish-out-of-water scenario—with moderate success. Down on his luck after losing his job and his girlfriend on the same day Larry (of the Cable Guy variety) decides to join his neighbor Bill (Bill Engvall) and his combat-happy buddy Everett (DJ Qualls) for a relaxing weekend of playing army. But when the three unlucky guys are mistaken for Army Reservists they’re loaded onto an army plane headed for Iraq--and mistakenly ejected in a Humvee somewhere over Mexico. Don’t ask. Convinced they’re actually in the Middle East the clueless wannabe soldiers turn into Magnificent Seven meets the Three Amigos and save a rural village from a siege of bandits proving to be real heroes after all. If you need to laugh at the war on terror you might as well do it with Larry the Cable Guy. He serves up his particular brand of comedy making light of a bad situation. In fact not only does he come off somewhat sympathetically as the hapless boob with a heart of gold he also gets the hot chick at the end of the movie. Go Larry! As his accomplice fellow stand-up Bill Engvall follows his own comic routine playing a hen-pecked trailer trash denizen who views this adventure as a great way to escape his overbearing wife and snotty kids. As the third doofus DJ Qualls (Hustle & Flow) plays a trigger-happy wannabe jarhead who sees this opportunity as a way to gain some street cred. And in a supporting role Danny Trejo a Robert Rodriguez regular pokes fun at his scary looks as the leader of the marauding bandits aptly named Carlos Santana. Yes the jokes are plenty. Director C.B.Harding is obviously a Larry the Cable Guy crony since his only other feature film credit is the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movie. Honestly all that’s really required of him is to point and shoot with maybe a few action sequences to coordinate here and there. But while the formula works as a cohesive movie having to sit through Delta Farce’s comic stylings is the tricky part. What it really boils down to is whether you’re a fan of Larry the Cable Guy. If so you’ll (I would hope) realize you’re watching a pretty stupid comedy but will laugh in the appropriate parts. If not I would really wonder what the heck you are doing sitting in the theater.
After 20 years with the LAPD Det. Mitch Preston (Robert De Niro) just wants to catch the crooks finish the paperwork and retreat to his mundane life at home where he eats TV dinners and pursues his hobby of making bad pottery. Patrolman Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy) really wants to be an actor--he's only a cop because he made a lousy waiter. When Sellars bungles Preston's undercover case and media hounds catch it all on tape the irate Preston shoots up a news camera that gets in his face. Over-caffeinated network exec Chase Renzi (Rene Russo) upon seeing the damning evidence that could have killed her cameraman is captivated by Preston's complete lack of charm and convinces her superior she can save his crappy network by pairing Preston and Sellars up on a reality show. As expected Preston is reluctant--and even more so when he's forced to take the mugging Sellars as his partner. The two take impromptu acting lessons from iconic actor/director William Shatner (playing himself) and set off to attract an audience boost the ratings become celebrities and get the bad guys in a televised reality christened Showtime. Meanwhile the evil Cesar Vargas (Pedro Damian)--whom we know is evil 'cause he hides in the shadows he's flashy and well groomed and he mumbles in an unfathomable Third World/ European accent--is stockpiling guns powerful enough to knock down houses and blow the doors off a Brinks truck.
The movie offers a few good yuks--a coke-sniffing dog an unprecedented cameo by jive-rhyming lawyer Johnnie Cochran and William Shatner satirizing William Shatner (who does this better than anybody else satirizing William Shatner). Unfortunately we've seen a lot of his funniest stuff like the scene in which he demonstrates how to roll over a car hood cop-style in the previews. Rene Russo gives an effective souped-up Lethal Weapon-type performance with her hyper pushy fast-talking network exec desperate to make her name in the industry. De Niro's straight-man comedy is in his facial expressions--or lack thereof--and Murphy is…well Murphy. It's their first outing together and they play off each other like a foul-mouthed version of Abbott and Costello (guess who plays who?). We've seen De Niro play grumpy (Midnight Run) and Murphy play obnoxious (almost everything) before. But as you may suspect it's their grade-A chemistry that holds this badly stitched predictable though occasionally funny flick together--especially in regards to the jokes on Hollywood and the current bounty of reality TV.
You can smell the gags and The Odd Couple-versus-Goldfinger plot unfolding a million miles away. You just know Preston is hiding a gun inside that Big Gulp when he goes undercover to investigate a pawn shop and you know Vargas will make bad-guy errors in judgment like staging a robbery in downtown L.A. the day after he's confronted by our star cops in a populated disco. But that may lead you to wonder why the police--who are likewise not presented as being particularly bright in this movie--weren't trailing him as Vargas is the prime suspect in the gun-trafficking subplot. Some of the comedy borders on satire but isn't played up enough for you to tell if it was meant that way or not. The action scenes are so badly edited it's hard to tell who's chasing whom until the camera cuts back to Murphy's toothy grin and a cement-faced De Niro shooting out his car window. And speaking of commercial-laden reality TV the product placement in this movie is shameless--we get a full-length commercial for Apple Computers played not once but twice.
It's true Celine Dion took an extended break at the end of 1999, in part, to start a family, but for crying out loud, she's not there yet.
Celine Dion That's why the pop chanteuse is suing the National Enquirer for $20 million over a report saying she was pregnant with twins. The tabloid reported the "pregnancy" in its Feb. 1 issue, with a picture of Dion under the headline "Celine - I'm Pregnant With Twins."
"This thing has really upset me," said Dion in a statement read by her lawyer as the suit was filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. "Since that story came out, everyone has been congratulating me and I have to keep telling them that it's not true. I only wish it was true and I hope and pray that some day it will be."
Added her attorney Martin Singer: "Not only is the news false, but the weekly gave the impression that Mme. Dion had revealed her pregnancy during an interview which, in fact, never took place".
The 31-year-old singer's suit alleges misappropriation of the right of publicity, "false light invasion of privacy", unfair competition and unfair business practices, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Dion knows the tabloid wars well. In 1998, she sued a French rag for saying she was unable to conceive a child.
Dion has said she is taking two years off from her career to spend time with husband/manager Rene Angelil, who is being treated for skin cancer.
BABY TALK: Actor Billy Baldwin and Wilson Phillips alum Chynna Phillips welcomed their first child, daughter Jamison, on Sunday night at a New York hospital, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The babe weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces. Baldwin says mother and daughter are doing fine.
"I'm ecstatic," says the actor, who happily added that his wife's delivery was "easy."
Baldwin, 37, and Phillips, 32, wed in 1995.
SUPERNATURAL HONOR: How does Carlos Santana top tying Michael Jackson's Grammy record? By getting a town square built for him.
The guitarist's Mexican birthplace, Autlan de Navarro, is planning to honor him by building a square, a statue and placing his name on a local street, town officials said Monday.
``The square is in the southern part of the town, and it's almost finished,'' Autlan spokesman Marco Rodriguez told Reuters. ``We want to inaugurate it as 'Carlos Santana Plaza' in the second half of the year.''
The plaza will be decorated with a statue of Santana and other local musicians, including one of the 52-year-old rocker's father, Jose.
``Carlos himself suggested that,'' Rodriguez said. ``He wanted to have statues of other musicians, including his father.''
QUICK TAKES: Best Actress nominee Annette Bening ("American Beauty") will serve as an Oscar presenter March 26 -- provided she's not at the hospital giving birth to her fourth child. ...
Meanwhile, Oscar nominees Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore and Haley Joel Osment will be presenters at the March 12 Screen Actors Guild Awards, set to air on cable's TNT. ...
Non-Oscar contender Will Smith leads the field with four nominations going into Nickelodeon's 13th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, to be held April 15 at the Hollywood Bowl. The actor/rapper is up for favorite movie actor, favorite song, favorite male singer and favorite song for a movie -- all derived from the mostly adult-loathed "Wild Wild West." ...
OBITUARY: The widow of screen legend Gary Cooper died Feb. 18 in her New York home, it's been learned. Veronica Cooper Converse was 87. Gary Cooper died of cancer in 1961.