TripWire CEO steps down after supporting Texas abortion law

The CEO of video game maker TripWire Interactive resigned from his job this week just days after backlash over a tweet in which he expressed support for Texas’ new abortion law

TripWire chief John Gibson, who has been with the privately held video game publisher since its founding in 2005, took to Twitter on September 4 to praise the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month not to block the law. “As an entertainer I don’t get political often,” Gibson wrote. “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.”

The controversial law bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and allows Texas residents to sue doctors and nurses for each procedure performed, as well as others who assist women in getting an abortion. 

TripWire, based in Roswell, Georgia, produces video games, including first-person shooter game Killing Floor, survival game Maneater and a popular medieval warfare game called Chivalry 2.

Gibson’s tweet drew fire on social media with one Twitter user saying the executive “calls himself a pro-life game developer yet sells violent video games like Killing Floor.” Another user called his stance “a sure fire way to convince me to uninstall Maneater and disregard anything with your name on it.”

As criticism mounted, some companies that work with TripWire to develop games, including Shipwright Studios and Torn Banner Studios, took immediate steps to distance themselves from the tweet, and in some cases, the video game maker itself.

“We do not share the opinion expressed in a recent tweet by the president of Tripwire, publisher of Chivalry 2,” Torn Banner Studios tweeted. “This perspective is not shared by our team, nor is it reflected in the games we create. The statement stands in opposition to what we believe about women’s rights.”

Shipwright said in a statement that it is canceling its contracts with TripWire.

Following the pushback, TripWire on Monday said Gibson would be exiting the company “effective immediately.” In a statement, TripWire officials said Gibson’s tweet “are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of Tripwire Interactive as a company.”

“His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community,” the company said, noting that vice president Alan Wilson is now interim CEO.

The Texas abortion law, which has been labeled as the most restrictive in the nation, took effect September 1. The law does not make exceptions for rape or incest. President Joe Biden has called the measure “a sort of vigilante system,” noting its provision that authorizes residents who sue to seek financial damages of least $10,000. 

The law has also become a divisive topic among some Texas business owners. The leaders of dating apps Match and Bumble, which are based in Texas, have criticized the law, calling it harmful to women’s reproductive rights. Match Group CEO Shar Dubey said she is creating a fund to help any of the company’s employees who may need to travel outside the state for an abortion. Bumble said it will donate to six organizations that support women’s reproductive rights. Both companies are led by women.