John Gibson, CEO of Tripwire Interactive — the studio known for making horror games like Killing Floor and Maneater — was made to step down a blisteringly quick 53 hours after he tweeted in favor of the controversial Texas abortion law.
In the tweet, Gibson says, “Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat. 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.”
The tweet drew sharp criticisms from across the gaming industry with many consumers stating they would no longer buy Tripwire games and sharing how to block the developer from showing up in Steam recommendations. Detractors also noted that Gibson’s pro-life opinion wasn’t the problem but that he chose to voice it publicly in his capacity as a CEO and in support of a law that essentially offers $10,000 bounties on abortion seekers and the people who help them.
The Texas law, known as SB 8, bans abortion when a “fetal heartbeat” is detected. While the term “fetal heartbeat” is not medical in nature, the phrasing of the law effectively bans abortion around six weeks into the pregnancy, which can be before a person even knows they are pregnant. A critical component of the law deputizes private citizens, not the state, to enforce it, granting people the ability to sue abortion providers and anyone accused of abetting abortion seekers. For any person who wins such a suit, they can be awarded $10,000.
Gibson tweeted his support for the law on September 4th. The next day, Shipwright Studios, a co-development services studio, tweeted that they would be canceling any contracts they had with Tripwire.
“We cannot in good conscience continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership structure,” Shipwright Studios wrote a mere 24 hours after Gibson’s tweet.
By September 6th, Tripwire announced that Gibson would be stepping down as CEO, effective immediately.
“His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community,” Tripwire wrote on their website. “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.”
Alan Wilson will replace Gibson as interim CEO. It is unknown if Gibson will continue to be employed by Tripwire.