Fallout: New Vegas and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords writer Chris Avellone wins his defamation lawsuit, and his accusers are retracting claims of sexual assault and more. 

The Nameless One, Dak'kon, Annah, Ignus, Morte, and Fall-from-Grace walk through Traitor's Gate Tavern via Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition (2017), Beamdog

The Nameless One, Dak’kon, Annah, Ignus, Morte, and Fall-from-Grace walk through Traitor’s Gate Tavern via Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition (2017), Beamdog

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On Saturday the 25th, Avellone took to social media to share the news, tweeting, “The case concerning the allegations made against me in 2020 has been resolved. You can find the joint statement here.”

“I understand that Ms. Barrows has requested to retract her statements to the media about me,” he added.

Chris Avellone reveals his defamation case has concluded, and Karissa Barrows has requested to retract her allegations via Twitter

Chris Avellone reveals his defamation case has concluded, and Karissa Barrows has requested to retract her allegations via Twitter

“I wanted to thank everyone on both sides who chose not to rush to judgment but instead were willing to listen and let the legal process take its course, let the facts come out on both sides, and come to a resolution,” Avellone concluded.

Chris Avellone thanks those who didn't judge quickly, listened, and let the legal process resolve via Twitter

Chris Avellone thanks those who didn’t judge quickly, listened, and let the legal process resolve via Twitter

In a joint statement, accusers Karissa Barrows and Kelly Bristol, as well as Chris Avellone himself, declare, “The parties resolved the matter and claims were dismissed with prejudice pursuant to a confidential settlement that provides for a seven-figure payment that includes the return of the attorney fee award entered against Mr. Avellone in California.”

It reiterates, “I understand that Ms. Barrows has requested to retract her comments to the media about me.”

Players fight Xantam the Beholder via Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (2001), Interplay Entertainment Corp

Players fight Xantam the Beholder via Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance (2001), Interplay Entertainment Corp

“After engaging with Mr. Avellone, we have prepared the following statement: Mr. Avellone never sexually abused either of us,” Barrows and Bristol went on to confess.

They further declare, “We have no knowledge that he has ever sexually abused any women. We have no knowledge that Mr. Avellone has ever misused corporate funds. Anything we have previously said or written about Mr. Avellone to the contrary was not our intent.”

“We wanted to support women in the industry,” Barrows and Bristol insist. “In so doing, our words have been misinterpreted to suggest specific allegations of misconduct that were neither expressed nor intended. We are passionate about the safety, security and agency of women, minorities, LGBTQIA+ persons, and every other community that has seen persecution in the video game industry.”

“We believe Mr. Avellone shares a desire to protect and uplift those communities. We believe that he deserves a full return to the industry and support him in those endeavors.”

The Jedi Exile and Atris in a lightsaber duel via Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (2004), LucasArts

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Avellone himself closes out the statement. “I appreciate the willingness of Ms. Barrows and Ms. Bristol to work with us in addressing issues within the game community, and their advocacy is to be commended and supported. There are still many very real challenges that we face but am confident we can face them together.”

“In the spirit of these goals, I would ask everyone to respect the privacy of Ms. Barrows and Ms. Bristol and use this opportunity as a means to listen to all voices in improving our culture and our communities,” Avellone implores. 

The King of Shadows clashes with Ammon Jerro via Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006), Atari Interactive

The King of Shadows clashes with Ammon Jerro via Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006), Atari Interactive

In 2020, Barrows accused Avellone of sexual assault. She claimed Avellone had gotten her “blackout drunk” with drinks bought via a company credit card at Dragoncon 2012, and only learned what happened from a witness the next morning.

She also claimed he pursued women “whom looked FAR younger than me in my late 20s,” and was abusive to his girlfriend Jackie; also Barrow’s friend. Similarly, Bristol claimed Avellone had repeatedly groped her, despite her rejection, at Dragoncon 2014. Studios actively working with or had previously worked with Avellone cut all ties with him and distanced themselves.

Michael Thorton points his gun at Omar Mohammed bin Nasri via Alpha Protocol (2010), Sega

Michael Thorton points his gun at Omar Mohammed bin Nasri via Alpha Protocol (2010), Sega

Avellone would deny these claims in 2021. Across multiple statements and tweets, the video game writer explained his belief that the allegations were retaliation for a bad break up with Jackie seven years prior. Barrows had allegedly encouraged him to pursue Jackie at Dragoncon 2013, yet their break-up was due in part to Barrows “continually, angrily inserting herself into our relationship.”

He theorized this was triggered after Barrows saw he was interviewed by IGN. Barrows replied to IGN’s tweet for that interview, alluding to the allegations she would later make. Avellone would issue a libel lawsuit in 2021 against Barrows, Bristol, and over 100 “Does.

The heroes stand before a statue of a succubus via Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous (2021), META Publishing

The heroes stand before a statue of a succubus via Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous (2021), META Publishing

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Avellone claimed that at Dragoncon 2012 he had been buying everyone drinks, and after he and Barrows were walked back to her room by two others, the pair made out “enthusiastically” outside (due to her roommate). He then left after Barrows said they shouldn’t continue, and would keep meeting Barrows at conventions for over a year and a half, with “enthusiastic correspondence.”

Further, Avellone claimed Barrows had deleted almost 60,000 tweets, some containing contradictory claims. In one photo taken the night after the alleged incident, he and Barrows are both shown hugging. Barrows even commented that Avellone was “One of the few gentlemen left in the world (that still drink).” 

Karissa Barrows comments on a photo of her with Chris Avellone at Dragoncon 2012 via It’s Come To This, Chris Avellone Medium

Archive Link Karissa Barrows comments on a photo of her with Chris Avellone at Dragoncon 2012 via It’s Come To This, Chris Avellone Medium

Another suspicious tweet included Barrows stating in 2014 she was surprised she hadn’t endured any harassment in the gaming industry, despite how rampant it was against women. 

Avellone dismisses Bristol’s allegations as merely her attempt to help her friend Barrows in her attack, and had no recollection of even meeting her.

Joshua Graham reads the bible beside the fire via Fallout: New Vegas - Honest Hearts (2011), Bethesda Softworks

Joshua Graham reads the bible beside the fire via Fallout: New Vegas – Honest Hearts (2011), Bethesda Softworks

Later in 2021, Red-i Creative Studio owner Jeff Johnson gave a public statement, of his “first hand knowledge” of how the two interacted. Johnson felt Barrows was “clearly” seeking a relationship with Avellone, with him describing him in positive terms in prior conversations, and fawning over him during a 2013 interview and further unreleased audio from a podcast.

Barrows laughs at Avellone’s jokes about being paid back with alcohol — three months after the alleged assault- and discusses how she had been heavily drinking at Dragoncon 2012.

Johnson showed alleged messages between himself and Barrows days after the alleged incident, with Barrows describing Avellone as her “con-boyfriend,” and hinting at having an interest in the relationship going further.  She later allegedly revealed to Johnson that when Avellone said he was unsure if he’d go to an upcoming PAX East, she replied “You must!! Who will walk me back to my room if you don’t go?”

Twitter messages between Jeff Johnson and Karissa Barrows, showing the latter is eager to see Chris Avellone again via Beyond Politics, Beliefs, or Life Choices — This is About Right and Wrong, Jeff Johnson Medium

Twitter messages between Jeff Johnson and Karissa Barrows, showing the latter is eager to see Chris Avellone again via Beyond Politics, Beliefs, or Life Choices — This is About Right and Wrong, Jeff Johnson Medium

During the trial, witness Dauna L. Bartley testified that Bristol’s alleged harassment didn’t happen, and that in 2014 Barrows had admitted to her that she had gotten Avellone “blackballed” from Dragoncon “based on what she perceived as his bad acts during his private split with his former casual girlfriend and his accidental appearance at a panel of which he was not an invited panelist during the convention.”

Positive messages between Avellone and Barrows in 2013, and other testimonies indicating Barrows was infatuated with him (and frustrated things couldn’t go further) were also submitted as evidence.

Avellone submitted a further $75,000 defamation lawsuit against Barrows in November 2022.

Chris Avellone being interviewed via Chris Avellone Interview (Dragon Con 2013), Super Bunnyhop YouTube

Chris Avellone being interviewed via Chris Avellone Interview (Dragon Con 2013), Super Bunnyhop, YouTube

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