The Michael Oher Saga continues to add new twists and turns, as the family he has accused of defrauding him is now firing back. Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy claim that the former football star asked them for $15 million dollars, or he would ‘plant stories’ about their 2009 film, The Blind Side.
The movie depicts a fictional version of Oher’s life, as he goes to live with his adoptive family (The Tuohys). In it, an underprivileged and oversized manchild moves in with a wealthy, white, southern family. They help transform him into a prized student and winning athlete. Hailed as uplifting and inspirational, the film snagged Sandra Bullock an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Ann Tuohy. And it made Oher a household name. So, back in 2009 – the year Oher was drafted in the NFL – everything seemed to work out for everyone. And they were all one big, happy family.
Unfortunately, fans of the film probably feel a little blindsided themselves, considering all the revelations that have recently come to light. While there had always been rumors that Michael Oher wasn’t really happy with the way the story was told, he also mentioned that – while heavily fictionalized – the movie had an inspiring and uplifting plot.
That has all changed now. After Oher filed a lawsuit against the family, claiming they duped him into signing a conservatorship and made millions from his story and likeness, the Tuohys are fighting back. The patriarch, Sean, now says that Oher attempted to extort $15 million from them, or else he would tell this story to the press.
So, needless to say? We will never be able to watch The Blind Side again without wondering what the hell was really going on. That’s pretty much the extent for fans who are following this story, but what happens next for both Michael Oher and the Tuohys could turn out to be a real-life saga-in-the-making.
At the end of the day, this story will likely play up a whole lot in the media for weeks. Then, their two legal teams will eventually meet up, discuss terms, and come up with a settlement. It will also probably be a sealed document, meaning we won’t even know who got what.
But how much does the Tuohy family really owe Michael Oher? He says he received absolutely nothing in terms of monetary compensation, and if that’s true, then he was wronged and should be compensated. But he likely won’t get a full judgment anyway, once the Tuohys’ lawyers bring up one, key counter-argument to the former Super Bowl Champion.
Hasn’t Michael Oher already made money from The Blind Side?
While Oher can make a case in court that he didn’t make any direct money from the Warner Brothers Picture, he can’t say he hasn’t reaped any benefits. The release of The Blind Side helped make Michael Oher a marketable man, in terms of summer camps and kids groups – and of course the NFL draft. He’s definitely a favorite of kids and receives a lot of affection from fans. Even if it came from a simpler caricature of himself.
But it went beyond that. Simply being known as the real-life ‘Big Mike’ gave him the opportunity to market his own name, which he has done as well. He appeared on talk shows, wrote a successful book, and will always be famous… when he never really should have been.
So while justice may be blind at times, the reality isn’t. And the reality is: Michael Oher has profited (in some ways) from his association and time with the Tuohys. His claims that they owe him for the film’s use of his story and likeness are certainly legitimate if true. If he has been done wrong by them? Then, he deserves to be compensated for what is fair.
Michael Oher profited from the portrayal of himself that he’s always hated. He profited by not becoming another, faceless, nameless big guy on the offensive line.
I hate to tell this to ‘Big Mike’, BUT if it wasn’t for the movie? No one would have known who Michael Oher was. In fact, they would have just turned a blind eye toward him.