Allegations of extortion have arisen in the ongoing conflict between Michael Oher, the real-life figure behind ‘The Blind Side,’ and the Tuohy family. An attorney representing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy has brought to light what appears to be a recurring pattern of extortion by Oher.
The Tuohys’ legal representative issued a statement to PEOPLE, claiming that Oher initiated a “shakedown” by demanding a staggering $15 million from the couple prior to his recent legal action, in which he asserts that they deceived him and profited off his life story.
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In a petition filed on August 14 at the Shelby County Probate Court, Michael Oher, now 37, alleges that the Tuohy family manipulated him into appointing them as his conservators when he was 18. He asserts that the Tuohys exploited his narrative for substantial financial gain, a culmination of which was the widely recognized film ‘The Blind Side.’
Responding to Oher’s contentions, Martin Singer, the Tuohy family’s attorney, highlighted the unwavering support and nurturing environment the Tuohys provided for Michael Oher. Instead of reciprocating with gratitude, Oher is claimed to have resorted to intimidation tactics, allegedly threatening to fabricate detrimental media stories about the Tuohys unless they paid him an exorbitant sum of $15 million.
Singer’s statement goes on to detail that this purportedly isn’t the first time Oher has employed such tactics. However, previous attempts were allegedly foiled by legal representatives who thoroughly examined the evidence and uncovered the truth.
Singer portrays Michael Oher current lawsuit as a calculated maneuver to attract attention, particularly given its timing coinciding with Michael Oher ongoing book tour. The attorney dismisses Michael Oher claims as outlandish and offensive, challenging the notion that the Tuohys sought to exploit him for financial gain as absurd and unsubstantiated.
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Representatives for Oher responded to Singer’s statement, reiterating their confidence in Oher’s assertions and expressing their trust in the judicial system to ultimately resolve the dispute. They maintain that the Tuohys were fairly compensated for the adaptation of their story into a film.
Singer emphasizes the Tuohys’ consistent adherence to their commitment of equal profit sharing. He cites meticulous documentation, including profit participation checks and studio financial records, as evidence of this equitable distribution.
Regarding Oher’s assertion about the conservatorship, Singer contends that the Tuohys have been transparent about its purpose, emphasizing its role in providing essential assistance across various aspects of Oher’s life, such as healthcare and education. Additionally, Singer asserts that the Tuohys have no intention of opposing the termination of the conservatorship now or in the future.
Singer concludes the statement by expressing the Tuohys’ distress over the unfolding events and their continued care for Oher. However, he underscores their determination to protect their reputation and counter what they perceive as a malicious legal pursuit.
Initial reports of Singer’s statement were published by TMZ.
In response to Oher’s petition, a representative for the former NFL star conveyed his dismay over the situation and implored for privacy for Oher’s family. Oher himself indicated that he would allow the lawsuit to speak for itself without further comment.
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The legal filing, which has garnered considerable public attention, centers on Oher’s claim that he unwittingly conferred conservatorship rights to the Tuohy family in 2004, when he was just 18. The document asserts that Oher’s trust was misplaced, as he signed documents unrelated to adoption, contrary to his understanding until recently.