June 12, 2024

Actor Ashley Johnson — star of the popular web series “Critical Role” and video game franchise “The Last of Us” — has filed a lawsuit against Brian Foster, her ex-boyfriend and former “Critical Role” castmate, alleging domestic violence, sexual battery, assault, stalking, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil rights violations. 

The suit was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, with seven female plaintiffs — six named, including Johnson and her sister, Haylie Langseth, and one Jane Doe — alleging misconduct by Foster over “the last decade” that was “fueled by chronic abuse of drugs and alcohol.”

In the suit, Johnson alleges that her relationship with Foster began in October 2012 and he moved into her home soon after. By 2015, she alleges that, “on a nearly daily basis,” he would go into “a violent fit,” which included “breaking glass, punching through glass doors, breaking a gate, slamming doors, and getting in Johnson’s face screaming obscenities at her such as ‘stupid bitch,’ ‘fucking stupid,’ ‘fucking useless,’ ‘useless bitch,’ ‘fucking bitch,’ ‘fucking cunt,’ and more.” 

She alleges that Foster’s behavior escalated in 2019 due to her work to support them financially, and that his drinking increased after he was fired from Critical Role in 2021. After they broke up in March 2023, Johnson alleges that Foster posted a photo to Instagram of the two dogs they shared with the location tag “Robert Blake Garden’s.” (Blake was acquitted for his wife’s murder, and later held liable for her death in civil court.) Johnson interpreted the tag as a threat.

Johnson alleges that Foster refused to move out of their home, and began carrying a duffle bag that contained “two airlift pistols modified to appear as real guns” as well as a “a garrote.” She alleges that Foster threatened to release private information about her unless she paid him $150,000. Johnson went to the police, and an emergency protective order was filed on her behalf. Foster was removed from Johnson’s home in May. 

The suit also alleges that Foster groped Langseth, Johnson’s sister, in front of Johnson and Langseth’s sister’s children, and that he subjected several other women, several of whom worked on Critical Role, to “inappropriate sexual advances” — including “groping them without consent” — after falsely claiming he and Johnson were in an open relationship.

Foster worked alongside Johnson at Critical Role, the popular web series chronicling an ongoing campaign of Dungeons and Dragons. Foster also produced and hosted the show “Talks Machine.” (The show was the basis for the animated series “The Legend of Vox Machine” on Amazon Prime Video, but Foster was not involved with that production.)

A representative for Foster did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Variety. But in an August court filing, he did respond at length to a request for a restraining order against him by Johnson, which contained several of the same allegations against Foster. 

In that filing, Foster says that the airguns were for protection for their dogs against coyotes and that the garrote was a pocket saw for firewood for a planned camping trip. He denies attempting to extort money from Johnson; instead, he alleged Johnson had agreed to pay him $25,000 “to get back on my feet” and required him to sign an agreement requiring him to not talk about their relationship. He says he told Johnson that “I had no idea what me signing an NDA to erase 10 years of my life was worth; was it $0 or $150,000. … I did not tell her that unless she paid me $150,000, I would talk about our private lives.”

Foster does not deny including the Robert Blake tag in his Instagram post; he says it was made “in jest” after the location came up after he took a photo of the dogs in their backyard, “so I thought it was funny.”

He says “most of the profanities that I am alleged to have yelled at Ashley never happened,” and that he has “no recollection at all” of allegedly groping Johnson’s sister: “No one has even brought this up to me. I do know that if this happened, I would have been the first to apologize and try to make amends.” Later in the same filing, Foster says definitively he “did not grope Hayleigh.” He says he has been sober for two and a half years.

Foster’s filing does not mention the allegations against him in the October lawsuit regarding unwanted advances to and groping of other women. 

Johnson’s request for a restraining order was denied.

In a statement to Variety, a representative for Critical Role says the company had “no knowledge of any of [Foster’s] alleged behavior.”

“It is heartbreaking to us that some of our colleagues went through this, and we’re committed to supporting them however we can,” the statement continues. “We are working with our HR team and our staff directly to ensure our workplace and culture live up to all of our expectations.”

Gene Maddaus and Angelique Jackson contributed to this report.

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