- Video game designer Chris Avellone has denied claims he sexually assaulted a woman in 2012.
- Avellone also filed a libel suit against the woman and others, claiming they damaged his reputation and lost him work.
- The woman, Karissa Barrows, said she stood by her story.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Chris Avellone, a famed video game designer, has broken a year-long silence to deny accusations that he sexually assaulted a woman at a 2012 convention.
Avellone, known for his work on two “Fallout” games and “Planescape: Torment,” also filed a libel suit in California against the woman, Karissa Barrows, on June 16.
Avellone named another woman in the suit who had accused him of groping her, and listed up to 100 unnamed other people as defendants.
The suit claims Barrows and others made false accusations that damaged Avellone’s reputation, lost him work, and hurt his feelings.
Barrows stands by her story.
In June 2020, Barrows claimed on Twitter and subsequently in press interviews that Avellone grabbed her face and forcibly kissed her while she was “blackout drunk” at a 2012 convention. Avellone then tried to put his hand down her pants, but stopped when she said “this isn’t a good idea,” she alleged to Insider last year.
Barrows also claimed Avellone had repeatedly bought her drink refills that evening.
At the time, Avellone did not respond to requests for comment from Insider and other publications. He did tweet at Barrows at the time saying he wanted to apologize, but did not go into further detail.
On Saturday, he published a Medium blog post denying the accusations, calling them “surprising” and “untrue.”
“I have never violated consent with anyone, ever,” he wrote.
Avellone said he “made a move to” kiss Barrows, that she “reciprocated,” and that they “made out enthusiastically in the hallway outside her room”.
“After several minutes, Karissa told me it wasn’t a good idea (to keep making out in a hotel hallway, which made sense to me), so I stopped and we parted ways.”
He did not comment on the allegations in June 2020 because he “was in a pretty dark place” and wanted to “avoid any contact with the outside world,” he wrote.
Avellone denied targeting Barrows with drinks. He was “buying rounds for a crowd,” he said.
Insider asked Avellone about Barrows’ claims that he grabbed her face and tried to put his hand down her pants.
He told Insider via email that Barrows “had told many versions of her story,” referencing tweets she wrote about the incident, her interview with Insider, and an interview with gaming publication Kotaku. “I have told one,” he added. “What’s in my Medium article is my answer and any further discussion on the falsehoods of Karissa’s allegations can be had in court.”
In a separate blog post, Avellone said Barrows’ allegations were “malicious.”
Barrows was angry about a “bad breakup” between him and one of her friends, he wrote.
Barrows told Insider she couldn’t comment beyond a statement she posted on Twitter.
“I stand by my story and the stories of the other women who came forward against him,” she wrote. “We did not lie. I will not speak further about this until after it’s all handled.”
Avellone’s lawsuit says his accusers lost him work
The bulk of the lawsuit focuses on Barrows’ claims but also names other women who accused Avellone of misconduct, including a previously unnamed woman who said he repeatedly groped her – he identifies her as Kelly Bristol – and other unnamed people that he claims damaged his reputation.
Insider could not find contact details for Kelly Bristol to approach her for comment. The Twitter handle Avellone associates with her in the suit is no longer available, and a website bearing her name is private.
Following Barrows’ accusations in 2020, gaming studios EA, Techland, and Gato Salvaje cut ties with Avellone.
In his suit, Avellone said he “lost employment and continues to lose employment” because of the allegations. EA and Gato Salvaje both declined to comment. Techland did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Avellone, as the claimant, will need to show the allegations against him were defamatory. He seeks damages “in an amount appropriate to punish or set an example of Barrows.”
“I do not want to silence anyone,” he wrote on Medium. “I want Karissa’s and Kelly’s story to be not only heard, but elevated, and I want them to speak more about what happened.”