The Oscar-winning film The Blind Side at the heart of a scandal, 14 years later

The Oscar-winning film The Blind Side at the heart of a scandal, 14 years later

The athlete who inspired this drama with Sandra Bullock is now suing his family…

It was in 2009. The extraordinary destiny Michael Oher was told in the cinema by John Lee Hancock In The Blind Side (The Awakening of a Champion) with Quinton Aaron in his role: a black American teenager, born to a drug-addicted mother and an absent father, with a chaotic school career and from a disadvantaged background, welcomed into a prestigious school and became an American football star thanks to to a wealthy white family. A trajectory that will lead him to the NFL, the professional league in which players often sign contracts worth several million dollars. The success story is also at the box office, the film is nominated for the Oscars and Sandra Bullock won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy (the adoptive mother).

From Hollywood to court, the (real) Tuohy family find themselves at the heart of a scandal today: in a 14-page petition filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, the 37-year-old writes “that an important part of the story was invented by the adoptive family in order to make a profit at their expense”. The petition, reported by the American channel ESPN, reveals that he would in fact never have been adopted and that he would only have been placed under guardianship by the couple… three months after his 18th birthday, which would have allowed the parents to carry out commercial activities on behalf of the player since they had the legal authority to do so. “Michael trusted the Tuohys and signed where they told him to sign”specifies the legal document.

Worse still, Michael Oher asserts that Sean And Leigh Anne Tuohy allegedly made millions of dollars from his name. He accuses them of having signed the contract for the hit film The Blind Side, an agreement that would have brought them and their two biological children millions of dollars in royalties, while he never received anything. The retired athlete explains that his (alleged) adoptive family then continued to consider him “falsely and publicly” like their “adopted son”while using this relationship for their interests, as well as to promote their foundation and the work of Leigh Anne as an author and speaker.

In his petition, Oher asks the court to end the conservatorship and issue an injunction prohibiting the Tuohys from using his name and likeness. He also asks that they return his “fair share of profits” in addition to damages for the harm caused. Steve Farese, attorney for the Tuohys, told theAssociated Press that they would file a response to the allegations in court, without commenting further. Fourteen years later, the Oscar-winning film inspired by a true story has obviously not had the happy ending it promised…

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