“Blind Side” inspiration and retired NFL player Michael Oher — who made bombshell accusations last week against Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, claiming they witheld his portion of the profits from the movie — is now alleging that he also never saw a cent from the use of his name, image or likeness over the last two decades.
Oher filed a motion Monday in a Tennessee probate court accuses the Tuohys – who were appointed Oher’s conservators in 2004 – of disregarding “their statutory and fiduciary duties” by not filing “timely accounting” once in 19 years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
As a result of the Tuohys’ negligence, Oher’s attorneys argue, the former Baltimore Ravens player, 37, was “excluded” from contracts negotiated on his behalf – including the 2006 deal with 20th Century Fox for film rights to Michael Lewis’ “The Blind Side: The Evolution of the Game,” which featured his life story.
Oher has “no knowledge” of the income generated by the use of his name and likeness and claims that he never gave the Tuohy’s permission to use his identity to “enrich themselves at [his] expense” with “unfettered access” to assets, the filing continues.
The scathing documents are the latest in the offensive lineman’s bombshell lawsuit last week seeking to end the conservatorship he says the Tuohys misled him to agreeing to under the guise of an adoption when he was a teenaged gridiron star.
According to Oher’s attorneys, the couple used the covert arrangement to squeeze millions out of their high-profile “son,” including a windfall from the Oscar-winning 2009 film adaptation of Lewis’ book, which grossed over $300 million at the box office.
The movie, which starred Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne, painted the wealthy couple as charitable Christians who adopted Oher and guided him to becoming one of the most coveted college football recruits in the nation.
The Touhy family – including Sean, Leigh Anne, and their two children – each received $225,000 for the movie in addition to $2.5 of the proceeds.
At a news conference last week, family attorneys Randall Fishman and Steven Farese countered that all four Tuohys and Oher each got around $100,000, the Times said.
The Tuohys denied that they kept the conservatorship hidden from Oher, and claimed through their lawyer that the Old Miss alum tried to shake them down for $15 million before going public, TMZ said.
The Monday filing, however, insists that “[Oher] has been kept in the dark, forced to rely on verbal assurances” from the Tuohys regarding contracts and other financial issues.
Oher also claims that he asked the couple multiple times to stop using his name and likeness as well as “continuing false claims” about the alleged adoption, but they “ignored” these requests as recently as Aug. 14.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times last week, the Tuohys’ attorney Martin D. Singer said the couple was open to terminating the conservatorship, but that his clients would “not hesitate to defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit.”
“In reality, the Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love,” Singer told the outlet.
“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.”
Singer also denied that the Tuohys got a huge payout for the film version of “The Blind Side,” which was based on the book written by Lewis, a childhood friend of Sean Tuohy’s.
Lewis’s agents, Singer alleged, worked out a deal “where [the Tuohys] 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,” Singer insisted.
“The evidence — documented in profit participation checks and studio accounting statements — is clear: Over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from ‘The Blind Side.’”
The same day as the new court filing, Oher was pictured smiling and chatting with fans at a Baltimore book signing for his latest memoir, “When Your Back’s Against the Wall: Fame, Football and Lessons Learned Through a Lifetime of Adversity.”
After signing some copies, he told the crowd that he could not address the ongoing lawsuit.