Tripwire boss steps down over support for Texas abortion law

The president of game-studio Tripwire Interactive has stepped down after tweeting support for a controversial new abortion law in Texas.

The Texas law bans abortions from as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

John Gibson tweeted he was “proud” of the legal outcome and was a “a pro-life game developer”.

Some of the studio’s partners rapidly distanced themselves from Mr Gibson, with one announcing it would cancel its contracts over the issue.

And two days after the tweet was posted, amid an avalanche of criticism, Tripwire said: “Effective immediately, John Gibson has stepped down.”

Mr Gibson’s comments had been his own – and not the company’s, it said.

“His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community,” Tripwire said.

“Our leadership team at Tripwire are deeply sorry and are unified in our commitment to take swift action and to foster a more positive environment.”

Intense controversy

Tripwire is a developer of titles including Man Eater, in which gamers play as a shark, and the publisher of medieval-combat game Chivalry 2.

Mr Gibson had tweeted: “As an entertainer, I don’t get political often.”

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

But he was “proud of US Supreme Court affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat” – a description medical authorities say is misleading.

“With so many vocal peers on the other side of this issue, I felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer,” he had added.

The tweet quickly generated intense controversy.

Many individual gamers called for a boycott of Tripwire’s games, sharing tips on how to hide listings for its products in Steam’s online game store or making donations to women’s charities in Mr Gibson’s name.

Supporters of the Texas law also responded, with the original tweet clocking up nearly 13,000 replies.

But Shipwright Studios, a “work-for-hire” studio that contributed to some of Tripwire’s games, wrote it was ending a three-year relationship because of Mr Gibson’s comments.

“While your politics are your own, the moment you make them a matter of public discourse you entangle all of those working for and with you,” Shipwright Studios said.

“We cannot in good conscience continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership… [and] will begin the cancellation of our existing contracts”.

Chivalry 2 creator Torn Banner Studios also condemned Mr Gibson’s stance.

“This perspective is not shared by our team, nor is it reflected in the games we create,” it wrote.

“The statement stands in opposition to what we believe about women’s rights.”

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Tripwire said vice-president and co-founder Alan Wilson would take over as interim chief executive, promising to listen to remaining concerns from employees and external partners.

“His understanding of both the company’s culture and the creative vision of our games will carry the team through this transition,” it added.

Mr Gibson has been contacted for comment.




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