The authenticity of 2010 Best Picture contender, The Blind Side, has been called into question in recent weeks following the subject of the movie, former NFL star Michael Oher, filing a lawsuit against the Tuohy family earlier this month. With the controversy going viral, the studio behind The Blind Side, Alcon Entertainment, has now released a statement defending the film’s accuracy.
The 2009 sports film told the story of Michael Oher, a teen who had an impoverished upbringing in Tennessee, and then Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy took him in. He played football in high school and then went on to play in college and the NFL. Per Oher’s August 14 lawsuit filing, the former pro football player alleged that the couple “tricked” him into signing a document just months before his 18th birthday that made them conservators, and he claimed that he was cheated out of profits for The Blind Side. Here’s what Alcon Entertainment had to say about the deal that was made:
The Blind Side is verifiably authentic and will never be a lie or fake, regardless of the familial ups and downs that have occurred subsequent to the film. Indeed, scores of trusted individuals, not the least of whom is Michael Lewis, one of our country’s most respected writers and journalists and the author of the book The Blind Side, 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 statement from the co-heads of Alcon, Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove (via The Hollywood Reporter), alleges that Oher’s claims are false, sharing that the notion that the Tuohys were “paid millions of dollars by Alcon” to Oher’s detriment is not correct information. The studio’s heads also shared that both the Tuohys and Oher are expected to “receive additional profits” from the film as more audiences continue to enjoy it. They disclosed that Alcon made a “charitable contribution” to the Tuohy family foundation and offered to donate “an equal amount” to a charity of Oher’s choosing too, but the NFL star declined.
Elsewhere in the statement, Johnson and Kosove spoke to the questionable validity of the movie itself following some people on the internet calling for Sandra Bullock’s Oscar to be recalled following the controversy. Per the statement:
The film rights to Michael Lewis’ book, and the associated rights contracts were negotiated by Twentieth Century Fox and inherited by Alcon when the film was put in turnaround… The deal that was made by Fox for the Tuohys’ 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. 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).
Since the lawsuit was filed, Sean Touhy, who was played by Tim McGraw in the movie, said he is “devastated” about the turn of events, and he claimed that his family, Oher and the book’s author Michael Lewis got an “equal share” and those earnings are “well-documented.” Amidst the controversy, we’ve heard that Bullock is not happy to hear the real family behind The Blind Side are at odds whilst the actor behind Oher, Quinton Aaron expressed a continued pride for the movie despite the claims. Alcon also ended its statement by saying how “proud” the studio continues to be of The Blind Side even in light of recent claims.