The production company that financially backed "The Blind Side" broke its silence Thursday after more than a week of the film’s subjects exchanging salacious accusations.
Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, co-founders of Alcon Entertainment, released a lengthy statement defending the movie’s authenticity and pushing back against Michael Oher’s claims that the Tuohy family has gotten rich at his expense.
Since the film’s 2009 release, Kosove and Johnson say that Alcon Entertainment has paid approximately $767,000 to the talent agency that represents the Tuohys and Oher. Kosove and Johnson described the deal as “consistent with the marketplace at that time for the rights of relatively unknown individuals.”
“It did not include significant payouts in the event of the film’s success,” they wrote. “As a result, the notion that the Tuohys were paid millions of dollars by Alcon to the detriment of Michael Oher is false.”
An attorney for the Tuohy family estimated last week that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, their two biological children and Oher have each pocketed about $100,000 apiece from the movie so far. That’s not wildly different from Alcon’s numbers, especially since Kosove and Johnson made a point of noting that the talent agency presumably took commission before passing the bulk of the money to the family.
Oher has alleged that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy and their two biological children collectively earned “millions of dollars” from the movie. He insists he received nothing for a story "that would not have existed without him."
Oher's supposed adoption out of poverty by the wealthy, white Tuohy family was the inspiration for "The Blind Side." The film became a massive hit, grossing more than $300 million at the box office and earning Sandra Bullock her first Oscar for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy.
In his petition to a Tennessee court last week, Oher alleged that he was never actually adopted and that he was misled into agreeing to a conservatorship. He is asking the court to compel the Tuohys to disclose their earnings from the movie and their use of his name, image and likeness. Then he wants to be paid what he believes he is owed.
Attorneys for the Tuohys responded to Oher’s lawsuit by describing it as a “shakedown” to extract money from the family that took him in and “loved him as a son.” Oher, according to Tuohy family attorney Steve Farese Sr., has been estranged from Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy for about a decade and recently has become “more and more vocal and more and more threatening.”
The rift between Oher and the Tuohys has been a harsh reality check for anyone who wanted to believe the real-life story was as perfect as the Hollywood version. And yet Kosove and Johnson bristled at how Oher’s lawsuit “seems to have given critics and journalists alike a justification to unfairly pick apart the movie fourteen years later.”
“The Blind Side is verifiably authentic,” they wrote, “and will never be a lie or fake, regardless of the familial ups and downs that have occurred subsequent to the film.”