The Blind Side star Quinton Aaron, who played Michael Oher in the 2009 Hollywood film, is weighing in on the shocking lawsuit. He’s also coming to the defense of Sandra Bullock, who’s gotten dragged into the situation by some on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Aaron told the New York Post he “was shocked and completely caught off guard” by the lawsuit. “Having met Michael and the Tuohys, I feel like this is a sad, unfortunate turn of events,” he added. “I can say just from my personal experience from meeting with both parties, I have the utmost respect for all of them over the years.”
Oher is suing the Tuohys, the family who took him in, claiming they never adopted him, but instead tricked him into entering a conservatorship — which he’s still in. The former NFL star alleged the family has been profiting off his story and name, raking in residuals from the blockbuster film while he has not profited. The Tuohys claim Oher tried to extort them before the lawsuit and deny making millions from The Blind Side. However, they aren’t disputing that they did not adopt Oher.
On Wednesday, sources claimed to People magazine the Tuohys made about $700,000 total from The Blind Side — in rights, payments and profits. That figure was purportedly set to be divided between the family members: parents Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, their two biological children and Oher.
“The Tuohys have not received millions of dollars from the movie,” a source alleged. “They have not even received $1 million from the movie.”
Here’s the latest on the unfolding controversy.
Has Bullock weighed in?
The 59-year-old actress has not publicly addressed the lawsuit. Bullock earned an Oscar for Best Actress for portraying Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side and some trolls suggested she should give her award back, which many — including Aaron — agree is crazy.
“We are living in a day and age where people are hell bent on pointing the blame on people and are just throwing things out there that’s wrong,” Aaron told the Post. “It’s like saying, ‘Let’s throw this person to the wolves.'”
Aaron said Bullock has done “nothing wrong.”
“That’s my girl and she is going through a really tough time right now. I really feel like they should leave her alone and stop trying to come at her,” he said, referencing the recent passing of Bullock’s boyfriend, Bryan Randall. “Stop trying to come for Sandra because you’re going to make me mad and they are going to have to come through me!”
In a separate interview with TMZ Sports, Aaron said Bullock “gave a brilliant performance. And that shouldn’t be tarnished for something that had nothing to do with her.”
A rep for Bullock did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.
The Tuohys accused Oher of a $15 million “shakedown”
The family hired power attorney Marty Singer who issued a statement on Tuesday alleging Oher tried to extort the Tuohys. Singer said claims “that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous.”
Singer alleged Oher recently “started to threaten [the family] about what he would do unless they paid him an eight-figure windfall, and, as part of that shakedown effort refused to cash the small profit checks from the Tuohys, they still deposited Mr. Oher’s equal share into a trust account they set up for his son.
“Unbeknownst to the public, Mr. Oher has actually attempted to run this play several times before – but it seems that numerous other lawyers stopped representing him once they saw the evidence and learned the truth,” Singer continued. “Sadly, Mr. Oher has finally found a willing enabler and filed this ludicrous lawsuit as a cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.” (When Your Back’s Against the Wall is a book written by Oher and Don Yeager, which was published earlier this month.)
Sean Tuohy admitted the family did not adopt Oher, but were advised to put him in a conservatorship
A conservatorship is a court order that appoints someone, in this case the Tuohys, to oversee the financial affairs of a minor or a person who is incapacitated. Oher was not a minor and there is no evidence of a medical condition requiring him to be in the legal agreement.
Sean claimed to the Daily Memphian the family was told they couldn’t adopt Oher as he was over the age of 18, despite adult adoptions being legal in Tennessee. He claimed they drew up a conservatorship to prevent issues with the NCAA.
“Michael was obviously living with us for a long time, and the NCAA didn’t like that,” Tuohy claimed. “They said the only way Michael could go to Ole Miss was if he was actually part of the family. I sat Michael down and told him, ‘If you’re planning to go to Ole Miss — or even considering Ole Miss — we think you have to be part of the family. This would do that, legally.’ We contacted lawyers who had told us that we couldn’t adopt over the age of 18; the only thing we could do was to have a conservatorship. We were so concerned it was on the up-and-up that we made sure the biological mother came to court.”
Sean said they would “of course” end the conservatorship after a staggering 19 years if that’s what Oher wants — and it is.
Oher suing for both compensatory and punitive damages determined by the court
The former Baltimore Ravens star is petitioning the court to end the conservatorship. He claimed to have only found out he was not legally adopted earlier this year. He wants to prevent the Tuohys from using his name and likeness and provide a full account of their earnings they’ve allegedly made profiting off his back.
Legal experts stunned at conservatorship move
Attorney Harry Nelson, founder and managing partner of Nelson Hardiman, has been involved in a number of conservatorships and he told Yahoo “it makes absolutely no sense that the Tuohys sought a conservatorship in the first place.”
“This case appears to be one of the most troubling episodes of abuse of conservatorship I can recall. Michael Oher is a successful person, a father, a husband, engaged in many projects, and not a person who by any stretch of the imagination is appropriate for conservatorship,” Nelson added. “I expect we are going to see that this was a financial tool for the Tuohys to profit, and it is sad to see a nice story about a family taking in a homeless kid and giving him a home replaced with a story of their inability to restrain themselves from trying to control and profit off of him. There have been longtime reports that he was unhappy about his portrayal in the book The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game, and his unhappiness now makes much more sense — he was a victim of people he thought were trying to take care of him.”
Legal analyst Chris Melcher, partner of Walzer Melcher & Yoda, added to Yahoo: “For the rights of an adult to be taken away in a conservatorship, the person must be unable to care for himself or resist fraud or undue influence because of a medical or psychological condition. Michael had no such condition.”