Michael Lewis, the author of the book that inspired The Blind Side, defended former NFL lineman Michael Oher’s (alleged) adopted family, the Tuohys, and blamed Hollywood for the financial situation that resulted in Oher filing a lawsuit against the family.
Earlier this week, Oher sued Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, claiming that they were not his adoptive parents and instead placed him under a conservatorship at the age of 18 that gave them legal authority over his business deals. As part of that alleged arrangement, the Tuohys limited what money Oher received from the hit Sandra Bullock-starring film about his life, which earned upwards of $300 million at the box office.
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Speaking to the Washington Post Wednesday, Lewis, who authored The Blind Side, defended the Tuohys in the lawsuit. “What I feel really sad about is I watched the whole thing up close,” Lewis said. “They showered him with resources and love. That he’s suspicious of them is breathtaking. The state of mind one has to be in to do that. I feel sad for him.”
Despite the film’s big box office return, Lewis stated that he and the Tuohys only received around $350,000 each from the movie’s profits of the movie and that Hollywood — and not the Tuohy family — was to blame for Oher being under-compensated for his life story.
“Everybody should be mad at the Hollywood studio system,” Lewis said. “Michael Oher should join the writers’ strike. It’s outrageous how Hollywood accounting works, but the money is not in the Tuohys’ pockets.”
Lewis also said that, in recent years, Oher began declining royalty checks from the family, who instead put that money in a trust fund for Oher’s son. The author also believes that the Tuohys placed Oher under conservatorship instead of legally adopting him because the process for the former was quicker.
Marty Singer, an attorney representing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, released a statement on Tuesday alleging Oher “threatened” to “plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million.” Singer called Oher’s alleged threat a “shakedown effort,” per Variety.
“Over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from The Blind Side” Singer added. The Tuohys’ attorney also confirmed that Oher had been placed into a conservatorship, but said that “either now or at anytime in the future, the Tuohys will never oppose” his wishes to terminate it.
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