Videos by OutKick
A PR tug-of-war between former NFL O-lineman Michael Oher and his “adoptive” family, the Tuohys, is in full swing.
After Oher alleged that the Tuohy family — highlighted in 2009’s “The Blind Side,” a movie about Oher’s journey from poverty to the NFL — tricked him into signing a conservatorship to financially benefit from his life story, the Tuohy family first spoke out with grace for the ex-lineman.
Michael Oher Accused of $15 Million ‘Shakedown’ In Fiery Response From Tuohy Family’s Lawyer
Oher petitioned to end the conservatorship in Shelby County Court (TN.). He believes the family took him under their care in pursuit of wealth made off Oher’s image.
Now the Tuohys are fighting back against the claims in full force.
In a statement provided to Fox News Digital, Martin Singer — attorney for the family — stated Oher tried to shake the family down for $15 million in hush money as he threatened to file the petition.
“Anyone with a modicum of common sense can see that the outlandish claims made by Michael Oher about the Tuohy family are hurtful and absurd.
“The idea that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous.”
Is Michael Oher Doing it All For Publicity?
Oher’s critics call his recent claims a “shakedown” as they question how the NFL player could have been unaware of the conservatorship for nearly two decades. He is also receiving flack for dropping the news concurrent with his book tour.
The former NFL player seeks millions in winnings, claiming the family selfishly kept royalties from the smash-hit 2009 film.
Oher claimed that he found out in February 2023 that he did not belong to the Tuohy family. Sean Tuohy, the father in the movie played by Tim McGraw, called Oher’s allegations “devastating” after hearing the news of his petition Monday.
Tuohy also noted that the family would end the conservatorship. Tuohy added that the family had not been interested in care Oher over money. He admitted that the family was already well off from Sean Tuohy’s earnings as a restauranteur.
Singer’s statement continued,
Through hard work and good fortune, Sean and Leigh Anne have made an extraordinary amount of money in the restaurant business. The notion that a couple worth hundreds of millions of dollars would connive to withhold a few thousand dollars in profit participation payments from anyone – let alone from someone they loved as a son – defies belief.
Oher’s lawsuit against the family alleges that each family member received $225,000 in royalties from the movie.
Sean Tuohy said the $14,000 given to each family member for the movie, including Oher, came from author Michael Lewis. Lewis wrote “The Blind Side” book which the film was based on.
In reality, the Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love. They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children. His response was to threaten them, including saying that he would plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million.
When Michael Lewis, a friend of Sean’s since childhood, was approached about turning his book on Mr. Oher and the Tuohys into a movie about their family, his agents negotiated a deal where they received a small advance from the production company and a tiny percentage of net profits. They insisted that any money received be divided equally. And they have made good on that pledge.
Sean Tuohy stated that the family required Oher to sign a conservatorship to enroll him at Ole Miss in 2005.
Martin Singer’s statement adds that Oher was given money, health insurance, and other assistance under the Tuohys.
Additionally, in spite of the false allegation in the lawsuit, the Tuohys have always been upfront about how a conservatorship (from which not one penny was received) was established to assist with Mr. Oher’s needs, ranging from getting him health insurance and obtaining a driver’s license to helping with college admissions. Should Mr. Oher wish to terminate the conservatorship, either now or at anytime in the future, the Tuohys will never oppose it in any way.
Unbeknownst to the public, Mr. Oher has actually attempted to run this play several times before – but it seems that numerous other lawyers stopped representing him once they saw the evidence and learned the truth. Sadly, Mr. Oher has finally found a willing enabler and filed this ludicrous lawsuit as a cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.
Do Oher’s claims sound like a ‘shakedown’? Or does the Tuohy family owe Oher every penny made off his life’s story?