1011 Days of Hell

Jeff Johnson
7 min readMar 25, 2023

The Vindication of Chris Avellone

1011 days ago Karissa Barrows replied to an IGN post on Twitter about Chris Avellone.

These accusations quickly gained traction on social media, with some referring to Avellone as a “Sex Predator”.

1011 days later, Barrows has finally come forward with a statement and retractions to her allegations, claiming her very specific claims were “misinterpreted.”

I became aware of Barrows’ accusation on July 9th, 2021, 387 days after Avellone was accused. At that point, most of the internet community had already labeled Avellone with various terrible epithets, and some even added more lies to the original accusation. For example, Sean Murray a “journalist” at TheGamer.com came out with an article titled, “Report: Game Writer Chris Avellone Alleged To Have Drugged And Assaulted Countless Women” and not only repeated Karissa’s claims, but embellished them with additions of his own.

If you’ve read any of my previous articles on this topic, you know I had receipts of conversations with Karissa Barrows, which took place weeks after the alleged assault, that put her claims in a much different light.

Barrows’ own words in those conversations were the damning evidence against her, exposing the falsehoods she had propagated.

Over the last 624 days I have been acquiring more and more evidence and receipts. I was ready to testify in court. I was ready to look Karissa in the eyes, and call her out on her statements. I knew the truth. Not only did I know it, but I had proof of it.

Unexpectedly, during the final mediation before the jury trial, Karissa Barrows issued 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

After 1011 days of hell, Mr. Avellone finally gets the truth to come out. For 1011 days, the internet had labeled Chris Avellone a sex predator all based on statements from Karissa Barrows. Now that her signed statement has come out, what are all the naysayers going to do about it? Are they going to issue an apology? Doubtful.

While much of the settlement details will probably never be public, we do know that the settlement for Mr. Avellone is in the 7-figure range, and that’s the part that goes to him. You read that right. . . a 7-figure settlement.

While it is unknown if there will be any further penalties or repercussions for the two women, it is crystal clear by the thousands of positive messages and nearly a half-million views in less than a day on Mr. Avellone’s Twitter announcement, Chris is Back!

It’s truly devastating to think about the impact that these false accusations have had on Mr. Avellone’s life. The damage to his reputation and career is likely irreparable. The fact that he was targeted and falsely accused is a stark reminder of how dangerous and harmful cancel culture can be. It’s important that we remember to seek the truth and allow due process to take place, rather than jumping to conclusions and destroying someone’s life based on unfounded accusations.

If you ever wonder why most celebrities, athletes, and high-profile people avoid the public, it’s reasons like this. All it takes is one person with an agenda to make a false allegation about them, and they are finished. Their career, their relationships, and their name are all destroyed. So when you are bummed that your favorite actors, game creators, artist, etc, don’t socialize with the fans any more at conventions, you know who to thank for that.

As this case comes to a close, and we see Chris Avellone emerge victoriously, I have a few parting thoughts:

To those who supported Ms. Barrows: throughout this ordeal, I want to express my gratitude to those who believed the truth. Despite the overwhelming evidence that Ms. Barrows story didn’t line up, some may still choose to support her, and that is their prerogative. I do not ask anyone to change their opinions or feelings towards Ms. Barrows. However, I do ask that everyone acknowledges the reality of the situation.

To the Real Victims of the world: I still stand with you. I know situations like this make it more difficult for you. People like Karissa Barrows or even “celebrities” like Amber Heard make it hard for your stories to be believed. But if you have the truth on your side, don’t be afraid to speak up.

To the Gaming Industry: It’s time for a moment of reflection. Over the past 1011 days, how many of you acted hastily in response to the allegations against Chris Avellone? How many of you severed ties with him without giving him a chance to defend himself? The truth is out now, and it’s time to own up to any mistakes made. The gaming industry has a reputation for being reactive rather than proactive, but it’s not too late to change that. Take this opportunity to reach out to Mr. Avellone and issue a public or private apology for any harm caused. With the significant contributions he’s made to the industry, he certainly deserves it. The ball is in your court now. Techland, I’m looking at you!

To the Media (with the exception of Erik Kain, Brandon Orselli, Niche Gamer, Nick Rekieda, Anna “That Star Wars Girl” and a few brave others): As journalists, it is your responsibility to report the truth, not just the stories that grab attention. In the case of Chris Avellone, many of you were quick to report on unsupported accusations without waiting for evidence. Now that the truth has been revealed, it is time for you to do your duty and report on it. The women who accused Mr. Avellone now claim that their statements were “misinterpreted”. Will you give this story the same attention you gave the original allegations? Will you publish the retraction? This is an opportunity for you to show your commitment to journalistic integrity and to set the record straight.

*As I completed writing the above statement to the Media, I noticed that both Erik Kain / Forbes and Brandon Orselli / Niche Gamer have already come out with articles covering this story (less than 12 hours after the story broke). This is amazing journalism. It’s unfortunate that most don’t have this level of professionalism.

To the others who came forward with proof about this case: Thank you. I hope you now see that there was no reason to be worried about telling the truth. Your honesty and integrity are to be respected.

To Ms. Barrows: I told you, “The truth will always find you.” When I came out with my receipts you could have stated that you were misquoted or misunderstood. You didn’t. You had a chance. Instead you decided to keep up the story. I suggest that you take responsibility for your actions and make a conscious effort to improve your behavior.

To Chris Avellone: I cannot imagine the pain and suffering you must have endured over the past 1011 days. I am grateful that I had the evidence needed to bring the truth into the light. I hope that you can now take a well-deserved break and focus on healing and moving forward.

Your talent and creativity in the gaming industry are undeniable, and I am confident that you will continue to produce incredible work in the future. I eagerly await the opportunity to see what you create next, and I believe that many others share this sentiment.

As I wrap up my final article on this topic, I want to share a personal reflection on the entire story. The situation highlights a concerning trend in our culture. The notion of “My Truth” is not only illogical but also undermines the importance of truth and facts. It’s disheartening to witness the dumbing down of our society where feelings are elevated over reality.

However, amidst the darkness, there is a glimmer of hope. The pendulum swings both ways, and we are on the cusp of a great shift towards embracing the truth and rejecting the harmful ideologies of the past. It’s encouraging to see more people and businesses awakening to the importance of critical thinking and common sense.

Change is on the horizon.

I am grateful to everyone who recognized the truth and facts in this situation, and acknowledged that our friend, Chris Avellone, was a victim of a terrible falsehood. The suffering he endured is unacceptable, and we must take action to ensure that no one else is subjected to such cruelty.

Be kind to people.

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