Beyond Politics, Beliefs, or Life Choices — This is About Right and Wrong

Jeff Johnson
5 min readJul 9, 2021

First Hand Knowledge of the Interaction Between Chris Avellone and Karissa Barrows

July 9th, 2021

As an upfront disclaimer, I haven’t been paying much attention to the game industry for the past few years, so the story of Ms. Barrows’ claim against Mr. Avellone was not known to me until a recent article on Forbes by Erik Kain. That is the reason for the timing of my statement.

During 2012 I was involved with a webcomic known as Marauder Shields, by Koobismo. This was an unofficial rewrite ending of the Mass Effect video game series. Over time, this project grew into a few other avenues including podcast interviews of game industry legends and amazing voice actors. Due to the success and wide-spread love of the webcomic series, we began bringing in new people to the all-volunteer team. One of those people was Karissa Barrows.

We (Koobismo team) met Ms. Barrows (online) on September 13th, 2012. One of the things discussed with Ms. Barrows was connecting with industry people for interviews. Ms. Barrows mentioned that she knew a lot of people since she attended many comic-book/video game conventions. She would talk about partying with them at every convention. Ms. Barrows officially joined the Koobismo team September 25th, 2012.

NOTE: I (nor anyone on our team) had ever met Karissa in person. Our entire interaction was over Twitter direct messages (see below), Skype, emails, and phone calls.

During this time, Ms. Barrows mentioned that she could connect us with Chris Avellone and David Gaider, since she recently partied with them at Dragon Con (August 30th, 2012 — September 3rd, 2012). Even mentioning candidly that she had “made out with Chris the first night there.” Ms. Barrows would speak about Mr. Avellone very fondly as if there was a potential relationship there. She clearly liked him, and to us, it almost came across like they were dating (by listening to her). Ms. Barrows was more than willing and excited to set up an interview with Mr. Avellone.

On October 30th, 2012, I entered into a conversation with Ms. Barrows over Twitter Messages. I started out by asking, “Your Con-boyfriend (convention-boyfriend, aka Mr. Avellone) was in The Guild?”, referring to Felicia Day’s web series “The Guild”. This began an all-day back and forth about Ms. Barrows expressing how much she desired a relationship with Mr. Avellone and was asking my opinion on the situation. This conversation completely counters what Ms. Barrows has been claiming on social media. This conversation was private and never shared with anyone until now. You can read the screenshots below.

*At this point I did not know Mr. Avellone. Had never had any contact with him. I only knew of his career, nothing about him personally.

  • *My text in blue. Ms. Barrows in grey.

As you can clearly see, there were no negative feelings for Mr. Avellone. On the contrary, Ms. Barrows was clearly seeking a relationship with Mr. Avellone.

On November 23rd of 2012 our group interviewed Chris Avellone via Skype. The people on the call were Chris Avellone, Karissa Barrows, Phil Hornshaw (currently an editor at GameSpot), Jakub Riedel, and myself (Jeff Johnson). The entire call was recorded. Pre-interview banter through interview, to post interview banter. During this call you can clearly hear Karissa’s affection and attraction to Chris. While the interview is public on YouTube, , I will also be releasing all relevant audio from the unreleased audio soon. This was the first time I had ever spoken with Mr. Avellone.

After the recording Mr. Avellone and I planned to meet up on December 20th, 2012. This was the first time Mr. Avellone and I met in person. Ms. Barrows, knowing that I was hanging out with Mr. Avellone, would at most sound jealous that we lived in Southern California and could meet up. She never said a negative thing about Mr. Avellone.

I lost touch with everyone in February of 2013, when I moved to Arkansas.

At no time was anything negative mentioned by Ms. Barrows about Mr. Avellone. She would talk about hanging out with the BioWare people and getting drunk with them. Getting drunk and partying with people at conventions was (and may still be) common for Ms. Barrows. As you can clearly see in her own messages about Mr. Avellone, she wanted to keep “the alcohol flowing”. Nowhere in any conversation either documented or undocumented (phone calls, video chats, etc.) was anything negative ever brought up about Mr. Avellone. Every conversation was about what a “true gentleman” he is and how fond Ms. Barrows was of him.

This entire story is very new to me. 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.

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.

Be kind to others.