Proof The Blind Side Is Completely Fake

It's a well-known fact in Hollywood that most films said to be "based on a true story," are likely a bit exaggerated. The story behind the Oscar-winning film, "The Blind Side," captured the hearts of many because of the inspiring message and actions of the Tuohy family (which seemingly resulted in the success of former NFL player Michael Oher), who was the subject of the film. Garnering more than $300 million dollars at the box office, "The Blind Side," followed the life of teenager Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron). 

Oher appeared to be neglected and living in different foster homes until he was taken in by wealthy Tennessee family Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Tim McGraw and Sandra Bullock) and their two children. In the movie, the Tuohy family appear to become Oher's legal guardians; they nurture and love him, while helping improve his grades and natural football talent. Oher graduates high school, attends Ole Miss, eventually going onto play for the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, and Carolina Panthers. Oher's accomplishments are hinted at being a direct result of the Tuohy family. 

In August of 2023, Michael Oher dropped a bombshell. He was suing the Tuohy family, stating they never actually adopted him; he was "duped" into signing documents which entered him into a conservatorship (he claims they presented it as the same process as a legal adoption). Oher's lawsuit demands an end to the nineteen-year conservatorship. He's now speaking out about how fictional "The Blind Side" really was...

The Tuohy family never actually adopted Michael Oher

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions in the film was that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy legally adopted Michael Oher. In Oher's 2023 fourteen-page lawsuit, he states via ESPN "the couple tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators, which gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name." Oher added that he felt "tricked" because the Tuohy's allegedly made the conservatorship process appear like an adoption process. The conservatorship that he agreed upon allowed Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy to make financial decisions for him as well as the authorization to handle all of his business transactions and affairs. The conservatorship has been in place since 2004, when Oher was eighteen years old, and he is petitioning the courts to end it immediately.

For those wondering why it's taken so long for Oher to come forward, it was clarified in the lawsuit via TODAY. "The lie of Michael's adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward, the undersigned Michael Oher," the petition states. "Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys." Sean Tuohy told The Daily Memphian they could not adopt Oher because he was eighteen.

The film didn't accurately portray Michael Oher's story

To his credit, Michael Oher has been very open about not being a fan of the film since 2015. He told ESPN,"I'm not trying to prove anything. People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie. They don't really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That's why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field. This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not ... that has nothing to do with football. It's something else off the field. That's why I don't like that movie.”

Oher's memoir also stated that the film did a good job of raising awareness surrounding the flawed foster care system, but it was never an accurate depiction of his life. He never understood why he was portrayed as "unintelligent" when that certainly was not the case. "I felt like 'The Blind Side' portrayed me as dumb instead of as a kid who had never had consistent academic instruction and ended up thriving once he got it," the memoir stated via TODAY. He went on to say that he'd performed in plays since the fourth grade, and he was not illiterate as the film suggests. Additionally, no one had to teach him how to play football as per the movie, he was already playing the game ... and playing it well. We'll get into that, later...

The film was accused of perpetuating the white savior complex

"The Blind Side" has always been accused of perpetuating a "white savior complex." The premise of the film is clearly centered around a "troubled youth of color," who is taken in by wealthy white family. To us, this is a considerably tough discussion and solely based off one's opinions surrounding the intentions of the Tuohy family. None of us were there, so how can we be sure of what their intentions were? 

Some believe that the "white savior" attitude occurs when individuals from privileged backgrounds assume they know what is best for troubled or marginalized communities without truly understanding their needs. Some also believe "white saviors" are simply helping a person of color for their own ego or image. 

In the case of Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, it's important to recognize that acknowledging their privilege and wanting to help others is not necessarily a negative. In the wake of Oher's August 2023 claims against the family (in addition to not being adopted, he's claiming they have gotten rich off his likeness), NPR released an opinion feature with a headline that read, "'The Blind Side' drama just proves the cheap, meaningless hope of white savior films." It's clear that what made this movie so popular with audiences is the feel good and inspirational aspect of a family that seemingly wanted to genuinely help someone in need. Whether that's true or not ... perhaps we'll learn more in the days to come.

The Blind Side portrays Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy being solely responsible for Michael Oher's success

As aforementioned, Michael Oher was never thrilled with the way he was portrayed in the film, and went into detail in his 2012 memior. Many non-fiction films do tend to exaggerate or dramatize certain aspects of the story in order to create more shock or entertainment value. Filmmakers want to garner emotions from the audience, and exaggeration can obviously help with those emotions. This is especially true for tragedies or achievements, and making Michael Oher's "character" illiterate seemed to fit that narrative. Oher later explained that he had been able to read and write since grade school, and he felt like the film diminished or downplayed his hard work up until the point that he moved in with the Tuohy's.

Oher was especially disheartened by the fact that "The Blind Side" claimed that Sean Tuohy taught him how to play football. Per his memoir via DECIDER, "Quinton Aaron did a great job acting the part but I could not figure out why the director chose to show me as someone who had to be taught the game of football. Whether it was S.J. moving around ketchup bottles or Leigh Anne explaining to me what blocking is about, I watched those scenes thinking, 'No, that's not me at all! I've been studying — really studying — the game since I was a kid!' That was my main hang-up with the film."

Oher claims that only the Tuohy's profited off The Blind Side

It's been fourteen years since the Oscar-winning film graced the screen, scooping up hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. One of the biggest allegations in Michael Oher's 2023 lawsuit is that only the Tuohy family has benefitted from the film's royalties (Sean, Leigh Anne and their two children), and he has seen nothing since the release. This has been perplexing to Oher as he feels that the film centered around his life, and he should receive whatever the Tuohy's have received. In addition, Oher believes "The Blind Side" helped Leigh Anne Tuohy secure her work as an author and motivational speaker, allegedly making even more money off his likeness.

The Tuohy family attorney Martin Singer, says these allegations are simply not true. "The Tuohys will always care deeply for Mr. Oher. They are heartbroken over these events. Over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from 'The Blind Side,'" Singer explained to Variety in an official statement. He went on to say, "They desperately hope that he comes to regret his recent decisions, makes different choices in the future and that they someday can be reconciled with him. In the meantime, however, they will not hesitate to defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit." The fact that Singer referred to Oher's allegations as a "shakedown" has us thinking that things could get ugly.

Sean Tuohy claims he barely made anything off the film

Sean Tuohy spoke with their local news oulet, The Daily Memphian, about how shocked he was amid receiving the news of Michael Oher's accusations. "We're devastated. It's upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we're going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16," he said. But the Tuohy's technically did "make money" off Oher's story as that's what the film was centered around. This film helped make them nationally relevant and boosted Leigh Anne's career in public speaking. 

The Tuohy's certainly assisted in setting Oher up for success, and most likely helped work on the movie itself, so why shouldn't they profit from the film?  This goes back to the accusation that while they profited, Oher received nothing. However, Sean Tuohy is denying he made any money from the movie, even claiming that he didn't need the money in the first place. In 2013, he sold his fast-food franchises reportedly totaling $213 million.

"We were never offered money; we never asked for money. My money is well-documented; you can look up how much I sold my company for. The last thing I needed was 40 grand from a movie." Tuohy does clarify that the author of the book ("The Blind Side"), Michael Lewis, actually gave the Tuohy's half of his share from the film, including Oher. This came to about $14,000 each, per Sean Tuohy.

The author of The Blind Side, Michael Lewis, says to blame Hollywood

Author Michael Lewis penned a book of the same name that inspired the film, and spoke out about Oher's lawsuit, blaming Hollywood, not the Tuohy family. Lewis told The Washington Post, "Everybody should be mad at the Hollywood studio system. Michael Oher should join the writers strike. It's outrageous how Hollywood accounting works, but the money is not in the Tuohys' pockets." Lewis claims they first sold the option of the film to Fox for about $250,000, which he and the Tuohy's split evenly (Oher was included in this division). Fox never made the film; instead, a small production company called Alcon backed the film (the CEO of Alcon was a neighbor of the Tuohy's). They all agreed collectively, to not take a salary, but work off a profit share. 

Michael Lewis claims that they split the film's profits, around $350,000 each. Lewis claims the Tuohy's had every intention of sharing the profit among their family but Oher actually began to decline the checks (what?!). To Lewis' knowledge, he thought that the family put Oher's royalty checks from the film in a trust fund for his son. He also added that Oher called him in 2021 to ask about a possible collaboration for a speaking tour to make money.  Reportedly, Lewis spoke to his agent about this, but nothing came of it. It seems like only bank statements could clear up this intense family drama...