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News video games 28 June 2021, 19:02

author: Hubert Sledziewski

Chris Avellone Responds to Harassment Allegations

Chris Avellone has decided to break the silence and respond to last year's harassment and sexual assault allegations. The developer has gathered evidence that he has decided to use to initiate a lawsuit to clear his name.

Chris Avellone, the legendary screenwriter, known from such games as Planescape: Torment, Neverwinter Nights 2, Pillars of Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Prey and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, has responded to allegations of sexual harassment and assault made against him just over a year ago by Karissa Barrows and Kelly Bristol. The creator claims that they were prompted by the fact that he had ended a relationship with their friend, Jackie, whom he dated for about twelve months over the course of 2012 and 2013. Significantly these allegations have never been corroborated or, according to Avellone, even properly investigated, but they were enough to derail his career. Now the developer has decided to sue both women for defamation.

Chris Avellone Responds to Harassment Allegations - picture #1

"Not to silence Karissa and Kelly, but to encourage them to say more," explained Avellone in his statement (published in both abridged and full versions), as well as on Twitter. The screenwriter has spent the past year compiling "a long list of digital evidence and witness statements" to be used in court in Orange County, California. All in an effort to reveal the truth and clear his own name. You may recall that the creator - within just three days of the allegations appearing online - was removed from the projects he was working on: Dying Light 2, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 and The Waylanders.

Avellone confessed that he didn't try to fight it because he didn't want to cause problems for the companies he worked with.

"I didn’t fight any of this. You can’t. Cancel culture being what it is, the companies can’t fight it either, or else they are attacked, too. Companies can’t even ask for time to 'look into it' without coming across as not believing the accusations, as unfounded as they are, because even the hint of a delay or wanting to find out more will be judged and will get them canceled, too. And no one wants to get canceled, even if it means turning your back on someone else getting canceled, even someone you’d worked with in the trenches for years."

At the same time Avellone did not hide his grudge against journalists accusing him solely based on tweets and not trying to verify the facts. The developer has a particular beef with Sean Murray of The Gamer, who constructed the title of his article in such a way that it implied the existence of an investigation report (which was never conducted) and misled the readers. As an example of easily verifiable information, Avellone provided info from one of Karissa Barrows' friends, Christy Dena. The girl was allegedly persuaded to make a false claim that she spent the night with the developer in 2013. Except that the screenwriter claims he was on another continent at the time she stated, not to mention that he doesn't even remember ever meeting her.

Chris Avellone Responds to Harassment Allegations - picture #2

It's extremely difficult to assess this situation. All that can be said without taking any position is that it is a good thing that the whole matter will be resolved in court. Perhaps in time it can serve as a precedent for this type of accusation - regardless of the verdict that ultimately comes down.

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