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Chris Avellone wins settlement after lawsuit over sexual assault accusations

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Chris Avellone wins settlement after lawsuit over sexual assault accusations

People News - posted by DarkUnderlord on Sat 25 March 2023, 10:59:51

Tags: Chris Avellone; Hurt Feelings; Men who make awkward passes at women and regret it when they get cancelled

Come with me on a murky journey through 3 lawsuits about a man's reputation.

3 years ago, back before masks suddenly became hip and cool, Chris Avellone got cancelled. Specifically, he was accused of using his "star power" (lol the man writes RPGs) at conventions to make passes at women (there are women at these things?). 3 years later we don't even know what a woman is. How time flies. But according to Business Insider at the time, "Karissa, told Business Insider that Avellone forcibly kissed her and then tried to put his hand down her pants while she was "blackout drunk" at a 2012 convention. She says he stopped when she told him 'this isn't a good idea.'" For his part at the time, Chris Avellone made the mistake everyone was making, and apologised on Twitter... for breaking up with her friend:

Karissa does hate me, it is true. Very much, and I do not know how to fix it, but recognized when you hurt someone's friend, there may be no fix at all, except between the two people involved. And there's never any need to "support" me, I do not wish this.​

He doubled down for good measure, once again apologising for how his relationship had ended with her friend:

Also, @GeekyFriedRice, as I've said, I am so sorry how things worked out. I did care about you very much, and I do appreciate your friends both trying to get us together and then backing away from that. :(

He had no idea what was coming. It became a pile-on as more allegations involving Avellone surfaced, with Kelly AKA GlitterBroker (a close friend of Karissa) claiming she was also groped by him at a convention during which she had said she was fat and kryptonite to the "frat boy element there", as well as a porn star taking offense that he had misread the text she sent him at 3 AM. Game journos took the women at their word - even though Karissa and Kelly had publicly declared they suffer from bipolar disorder, a condition often linked to issues with the truth - reporting that Chris was roaming around conventions drugging and assaulting everyone he could find. The gaming industry dumped him like a hot potato, with Techland, Paradox Interactive, and Gato Studio dumping him from Dying Light 2, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, and The Waylanders respectively. All distancing themselves from Chris like he was infected with some kind of deadly virus that would spread around the globe if anyone got too close to him - and wearing masks wasn't enough. Chris Avellone was no longer a name people could add to their RPG KickStarter as a way of attracting donors. He had become a pariah.

Time went by and the world moved on, with Chris' reputation in tatters. But Chris eventually did what any good American does: He sued. On the 16th June 2021, in Stanley Mosk Courthouse, CHRISTOPHER AVELLONE, AN INDIVIDUAL VS KARISSA BARROWS, AN INDIVIDUAL, ET AL. (search for case number: 21STCV22573) was filed. The defence of Chris Avellone had begun.

Without getting too legal, Chris had sued Karissa Barrows and Kelly Bristol in California. Initially, the case went well. The trial judge rejected the anti-SLAPP motion from Karissa and Kelly (which is to say, the judge felt the case wasn't a frivolous waste of time and was worth proceeding with). However, the judge did agree that California did not have jurisdiction over Kelly, so she was removed as a defendant. The judge ruled that the lawsuit against Karissa could go forward. Karissa filed an appeal against that.

Almost a year later, the Appellate Court ruled that California did not have jurisdiction over Karissa either and asked Chris to pay her attorney fees. Her attorney was working pro bono for her, so she did not have any fees per se... But the U.S. legal system allows pro bono lawyers to get paid as if they weren't pro bono in situations like this. Chris, we thought, had lost.

However, since the case was dismissed for jurisdictional reasons, not for merits, Chris was able to start a new case in Oklahoma against Kelly (the link only works if you're in the USA) and a new case against Karissa in Illinois (their respective home states).

Kelly attempted to have the Oklahoma case dismissed but it was allowed to continue. There was some attempted counter-suing from Kelly. The Illinois lawsuit was also allowed to go forward. Eventually though, there were trial dates and everything. And discovery was supposed to begin... but not before court mandated mediation.

... and the parties settled, issuing a joint statement. Chris Avellone posted the joint statement on his Medium account:

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.​

I understand that Ms. Barrows has requested to retract her comments to the media about me.​

Statements are as follows:​
“After engaging with Mr. Avellone, we have prepared the following statement:
Mr. Avellone never sexually abused either of us. 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. 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.”
- Karissa Barrows, Kelly Rae Bristol​

“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.”
- Chris Avellone​

It's a little vague but we've been able to confirm that the settlement is in Chris Avellone's favour. And both the Oklahoma and Illinois cases are now settled.

Whether this sees the return of Chris as a writer on game projects, especially as we see attempts at cancelling now failing... time will tell.

There are 460 comments on Chris Avellone wins settlement after lawsuit over sexual assault accusations

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