Ashley Johnson, of The Last of Us, Blindspot, Vox Machina, and over 140 other acting credits, recently broke things off with her ex-fiancé Brian W. Foster. Johnson is a regular cast member on Critical Role, the hit DnD Twitch show and podcast also featuring Matt Mercer, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, and a slew of other voice actors. Foster had several podcasts devoted to the show and was a frequent host of their convention panels. The two began dating in 2012 and announced their engagement in 2018. Foster’s podcasts, Talks Machina and Between the Sheets featured regular interviews and show breakdowns with members of the cast. He also got into regular Twitter spats with “Critters,” die-hard fans of the campaigns. These led to frequent public apologies and deleted tweets. Foster’s association with Critical Role ended August 2021 in what appeared to be an amicable break with the company.
Let’s all wish @brianwfoster the best as he embarks on some wild new creative endeavors. We have nothing but mad love and support for our Cabbage Lord, and want to thank him for his creativity and contributions to CR over the years.— Critical Role (@CriticalRole) August 16, 2021
Unfortunately, new details emerged after someone leaked Johnson’s restraining order to gossip website The Blast. I won’t link to it or share specific details because frankly it’s no one’s business but Johnson’s. Besides, the behavior, while disturbing and contemptible, is nothing new. We’ve heard much the same about similar men, most recently Steven Crowder. His abusive tirade against his pregnant wife, Hilary, is a solid example of the behavior Johnson alleges Foster engaged in. Chris Hardwick’s behavior towards Chloe Dykstra was also similar. Foster was verbally and mentally abusive, calling her names and limiting her contact with family and friends. He was physically aggressive during arguments, frequently shattering glasses and damaging property. He carried a bag of weapons around with him. He locked her out of all her electronic devices, including her phone and Ring camera. She claims he was constantly intoxicated. It appears he threatened both her safety and that of her dogs. Johnson told the court it took 2 1/2 years to finally break out of Foster’s control. Johnson was granted a 500-yard restraining order after police escorted Foster from their home. Foster has since deleted his Twitter account.
Steven Crowder. Chris Hardwick. Chris D’Elia. Justin Roiland. Jonathan Majors. Johnny Depp. Finding out popular (male) media figures are actually vindictive, controlling assholes is a tale that repeats so often it should be in syndication. The one saving grace in Ashley Johnson’s case is she’s a beloved figure in the voice acting and roleplay communities. She’s actively involved in charitable works, and it’s impossible to find a bad word said about her online. Critters are up in arms about the accusation, and the Twitter responses are categorically behind Johnson. Most posts ask folks to take down any copies of the leaked documents and offer unwavering support to Ashley. I can’t imagine how it feels to have her private life leaked to the tabloids, but I hope she can take some comfort in receiving the support every abuse survivor deserves. And I hope that whoever leaked her private court documents finds their underwear infested with fire ants.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please reach out for support. If there are no local resources available to you, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233.