However, for the last two years, Chris Avellone has been fighting a legal battle against sexual misconduct accusations, leaving a permanent stain on his reputation.
To recap: in a now hidden Tweet, Karissa Barrows accused Chris Avellone of sexual assault, claiming Avellone is a sexual predator.
The statement immediately had repercussions on Avellone’s career, resulting in him losing his writing jobs both in Techland (Dying Light 2) and Paradox Interactive (Vampire: the Masquerade — Bloodlines 2).
On the 16th of June, 2021, Chris Avellone filed a lawsuit against Barrows and her friend, Kelly Bristol, demanding reparations and attorney fees.
A bit after that – on June 26th, 2021, Avellone posted a very long article on Medium, where he explained his side of the story.
In his Medium post, Avellone goes in extensive detail about his relationship with Barrows and shows the many deleted Twitter posts surrounding the story.
Avellone also links to two other Medium posts by Jeff Johnson, called “Beyond Politics, Beliefs, or Life Choices — This is About Right and Wrong” and “The Truth Will Always Find You“.
Jeff Johnson worked on a parody Mass Effect webcomic along with Karissa Barrows, and as such knows of the circumstances surrounding the relationship Avellone and Barrows had, and both posts come out in favor of Avellone:
When I saw it in Forbes, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I knew to my core that these accusations were completely false. Not because of some close relationship with Mr. Avellone or Ms. Barrows (which I don’t have with either), but because I knew the facts.
If I had proof showing the polar opposite, I would have also come forward. If someone is guilty, good, you need to speak up. But attempting to destroy someone with a complete fabrication is something I could not stand by and let slide. When a person lies about something like this, it makes it harder for the real victims of the world.
On the 16th of September, 2021, Karissa Barrows tried to move the trial to her home state of Illinois, claiming that having the trial in California would be inconvenient.
This was eventually dismissed as it was seen as an attack on Avellone, who lives in California. Kelly Bristol also attempted the same, but was successful in moving her case to Oklahoma. Both Barrows and Bristol also tried to strike down the lawsuit, both of which got denied.
On the 23rd of November, 2021, Avellone filed another lawsuit against Kelly Bristol. Bristol did not respond and Avellone was awarded $6,320 in attorney fees. This brings us to the most recent lawsuit:
On September 28th, 2022, Chris Avellone filed another lawsuit against Karissa Barrows, this time trying to settle things once and for all with a list of demands. Avellone seeks both reparations and an opportunity to clean his name from this lawsuit.
Avellone’s list of demands are as follows:
Chris Avellone September 2022 lawsuit
Judgment for actual, compensatory, special, and presumed damages against Defendant Karissa Barrows in an amount to be determined at trial but at least exceeding $75,000;
Judgment for punitive and exemplary damages against Defendant Karissa Barrows in an amount to be determined at trial;
An award of the costs of this action against Defendant Karissa Barrows, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest;
Injunctive and/or equitable relief requiring Defendant Karissa Barrows to take actions to retract all false and defamatory statements published by Barrows and/or re-printed or characterized by third parties; and,
Such other and further relief as justice may require.
Chris Avellone has been vocal about his struggles and has shown his side of the story multiple times.
Despite feeling wronged by both the gaming industry and many (other) gaming news sites, he does not seem to gather any ill will towards the industry as a whole, only seeking reparations.
Chris Avellone has claimed that cancel culture cannot be fought and that the companies who employed him were powerless to do anything or else they would be under attack too.
In Jeff Johnson’s own words:
Unarguable truth has now been presented. As a culture we should always wait to find out the facts before casting judgment on someone.
What if this was you or a loved one? This goes beyond politics, beliefs, or life choices. This is about right and wrong, truth and lies.
Niche Gamer has and will continue to cover the case extensively, you can find more of our coverage right here.