The producers of "The Blind Side" are joining the discourse surrounding their movie, sparked by a lawsuit from whom the story was based on: Michael Oher.
The former NFL player recently accused Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy of tricking him into signing onto a conservatorship rather than signing onto having them as his adoptive parents. He claims through this conservatorship, the couple withheld millions of dollars from him in profits made from the film.
"The Blind Side" grossed more than $300 million, but Oher said he's never received any payments. In the petition, he's asked to be paid what he's owed, plus interest and damages.
The Tuohys' attorney released a statement claiming Oher "threatened" the couple by saying "he would plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million." The attorney dismissed the lawsuit as "ludicrous" and said the Touhys have consistently given him unconditional love as their son.
Meanwhile the producers of the film, Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, also seem to be defending the Tuohys and the film's portrayal of the adoption in their lengthy statement.
They say their film reflected on "the better angels of human nature," particularly in the Tuohys' "wonderful acts of kindness" toward Oher. But they say "more importantly," this is evident in Oher's "courage" to accept "the Tuohys' generosity not as a handout, or as his saviors, but as a way through which he could improve his own life."
The producers also say the film 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."
They say the film's points have been corroborated by Michael Lewis, who wrote the best-selling book "The Blind Side" from which the film was based, and by trusted individuals " who can speak to "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."
As for the financial part of Oher's legal fight, the producers say the company they co-founded in 1997, Alcon Entertainment, had inherited negotiated contracts from Twentieth Century Fox, who initially had the rights to Lewis' book.
"The deal that was made by Fox for the Tuohy's 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," the statement says.
The producers say this disproves Oher's claim that Alcon paid the Tuohys millions of dollars to the detriment of the football player.
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