Sep 7, 2021 - Technology

Tripwire CEO out after tweeting support of Texas abortion law

Screenshot from Tripwire's latest game, "Maneater."

Tripwire's latest game, "Maneater." Screenshot: Tripwire Interactive

The head of Georgia-based game development studio Tripwire Interactive parted ways with the company Monday, two days after tweeting his support for Texas’ new abortion ban.

Why it matters: Tripwire CEO John Gibson's support of a law critics are calling "draconian" and dangerous sparked instant outrage.

  • “Effective immediately, John Gibson has stepped down as CEO of Tripwire,” the studio tweeted yesterday, citing a decision by its leadership team.
  • “His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community."

The details: On Saturday afternoon, Gibson tweeted: “Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat.”

  • He continued: “As an entertainer I don’t get political often. Yet 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 was supporting the new Texas law that bans abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which is usually around six weeks, and authorizes citizens to sue anyone helping a woman obtain an abortion after that point — with the offer of at least $10,000 from the state if the suit succeeds.
  • The law, which includes no exception for rape or incest, all but bans abortions in the state and is strongly opposed by the Biden administration.

Blowback was swift — the tweet generated thousands of likes but scorn from scores more, including a top PlayStation developer, Cory Barlog, who tweeted: “how can anyone be proud of claiming dominion over a woman’s personal freedoms?”

  • Another Georgia-based studio, Shipwright, announced it would cancel its contracts with Tripwire. The development studio behind "Chivalry 2," which is published by Tripwire, also slammed Gibson's statement.
  • On Monday, Tripwire announced Gibson was gone, replacing him with co-founder Alan Wilson.

The big picture: Texas’ abortion law has provoked strong reactions among the public, though the response from the business community has been muted.

  • Lyft and Uber have said they’ll pay legal fees for drivers who are sued under the law.
  • But Texas CEOs have largely remained silent.
  • An exception: Max Hoberman, CEO of Austin-based game studio Certain Affinity, tweeted on Saturday that “this abortion ban” and other new Texas regulations “make recruiting to Texas exceptionally difficult, and may even drive away businesses.”
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