Michael Oher, a former offensive tackle in the National Football League, and famously known for “The Blind Side” movie, claims the Tuohy family made millions off of him. He was homeless until the Tuohy family agreed to take him as their own in high school when they found him on the side of a street. Oher claims that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never adopted him, and instead they tricked Michael Oher into signing documents, making them his conservators. Oher was just in high school when they forced him to sign the papers. They would have legal authority to make business deals in his name. There is a 14-page petition filed in Shelby County, Tennessee for this incident.
The petition alleges that the Tuohys used their conservator power to strike a deal that paid them and their two birth children millions of dollars from an Oscar-winning film “The Blind Side” that they would not have won without him in it. They also kept calling him their adopted son to promote their foundation as an author and motivation speak, as Leigh Anne Tuohy is.
The Tuohy family did not return phone calls regarding the petition and their attorney, Steve Farese, did not comment to ESPN on Monday. Sean Tuohy then told the Daily Memphian website that he was shocked by Oher’s allegations and that they did not make any money off him and the movie. Only a share of proceeds from Michael Lewis’ book.
“We’re devastated,” Sean Tuohy told the outlet. “It’s upsetting to think that we would make any money off of our children. But we are going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”
Michael Oher’s petition asks the Tuohys to pay him back his fair share of the profits that they made off of his name, image, and likeliness.
Conservators believe since August of 2004, that the Tuohys have used Oher to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control.
The movie paid the Tuohys and their two birth children each $225,000, plus 2.5% of the film’s net proceeds. The movie made more than $300 million at the box office and tens of millions of dollars more in home video sales. The film won an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and Sandra Bullock won a Best Actress trophy for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Trophy. Oher signed a separate contract in 2007 that gives away his rights to the story without any payment whatsoever, but he has no knowledge of the contract as no one every explained the details to him.
The Tuohys claim they split the profit five ways as they wrote in their 2010 book, “In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving.”
Whatever the truth may be, there is a question in why the Tuohys did not answer calls following the accusation from Michael Oher, only signaling that they did in fact use him and force him to sign the document and not give him any of the money for a movie that would have made zero profit without him.
This is going to be one rollercoaster of a story. Stay Tuned for more information.
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