Producers behind “The Blind Side” have issued a statement affirming the authenticity of Michael Oher’s story as told in the film, responding to Oher’s recent allegations that the Tuohy family fabricated his adoption and instead placed him in a conservatorship that he is still restricted to.
“We feel it is now important for us to respond to some recent media reports, which include many mischaracterizations and uninformed opinions,” Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, “Blind Side” producers of and co-founders of Alcon Entertainment, said in a statement Thursday. “The impetus for these stories has been a lawsuit by Michael Oher, which seems to have given critics and journalists alike a justification to unfairly pick apart the movie fourteen years later – some going so far as to call it ‘fake’ or a ‘lie.’”
More from Variety
The producers added that their film’s story remains “verifiably authentic and will never be a lie or fake, regardless of the familial ups and downs that have occurred subsequent to the film.”
Johnson and Kosove, who founded Alcon back in 1997, claim that Oher’s story as told in the film was corroberated by Michael Lewis, the author of the 2006 novel “The Blind Side,” which John Lee Hancock based the film on. The producers claim that Lewis and other individuals “have spoken of their first-hand knowledge of the authenticity of the Tuohys loving Michael dearly and raising Michael as their son through the end of high school, and then throughout college and onto the NFL.”
The pair addressed Oher’s monetary claims, in which he alleged that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, along with their two biological children, received $225,000 plus 2.5% of “defined net proceeds” from “The Blind Side,” while Oher never received any financial compensation. The producers stated that Alcon took control of the right to Lewis’ novel and other associated rights when production began.
“The deal that was made by Fox for the Tuohy’s and Michael Oher’s life rights was consistent with the marketplace at that time for the rights of relatively unknown individuals. Therefore, it did not include significant payouts in the event of the film’s success,” the producers’ statement reads.
It continues, “As a result, the notion that the Tuohys were paid millions of dollars by Alcon to the detriment of Michael Oher is false. In fact, Alcon has paid approximately $767,000 to the talent agency that represents the Tuohy family and Michael Oher (who, presumably, took commission before passing it through).”
In a statement form their attorney Marty Singer, the Tuohy family alleged that Oher had threatened to “plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million,” calling Oher’s claims as a “cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.” Singer added that “over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from ‘The Blind Side.’”
Best of Variety