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Bening To Back Former Teacher

October 12, 2000

PHOENIX (AP) _ Annette Bening is expected to come to the defense of her former acting teacher, who also taught such stars as Val Kilmer, Elizabeth McGovern and Frances McDormand.

Jared Sakren, who had a distinguished acting and directing career before joining the faculty at Arizona State University in 1994, is suing for wrongful termination.

He claims he was fired in 1997 because the way he taught Shakespeare conflicted with feminist politics at the university.

Sakren was blacklisted when university officials sent letters to other universities and actors about their concerns, Sakren’s attorney said. Bening received one of the letters and is expected to testify.

The university claims poor performance, not politics, led to Sakren’s termination. Officials said they sent the letter to uphold the university’s reputation after Sakren claimed discrimination.

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