On Sunday afternoon John Gibson, the CEO of Georgia-based game studio Tripwire Interactive, tweeted out his support for Texas’ restrictive new abortion law, which removes women’s autonomy over their own bodies by effectively banning abortion in the state, and authorizing private citizens to file civil charges against any individual who undergoes, performs, or aids with an abortion six weeks after conception. On Monday night Tripwire Interactive announced that Gibson was no longer its CEO.
The law in question is the Texas Heartbeat Bill, Senate Bill 8, which went into effect on September 1. It illegalizes abortions once a fetus displays cardiac activity, which typically happens around six weeks after conception. That is often before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. That pretty much amounts to a total ban on abortion, which runs counter to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that determined that women have the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. It doesn’t even allow for exemptions in the case of rape or incest. As written, the law leaves its enforcement not to legal or governmental authorities, but to private citizens, letting any citizen of Texas bring civil charges against any other citizen who in any way helps with an abortion. The Supreme Court didn’t weigh in on whether the new law was constitutional or not, but its conservative majority refused to block the law right before it went into effect specifically because of that loophole and the lack of governmental oversight in the law’s enforcement. Five Justices refused to hear the case, including all three appointed by Donald Trump; Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by George W. Bush, joined with the Court’s three reliable liberals to disagree with the majority. The result is that the Supreme Court ignored 50 years of precedent to say Texas can effectively ban abortion, giving a road map to other states of how to do the same.
Tripwire Interactive is the developer of the Killing Floor and Red Orchestra franchises, along with last year’s cult hit Maneater. It also publishes games developed by other studios, including Torn Banner’s Chivalry 2, which was released this past June. Gibson was a co-founder of the company back in 2005, serving as both its president and CEO at the time he stepped down. His original tweet, which can be seen below, was immediately condemned by many within the games industry, including some of Tripwire’s own business partners. Shipwright Studios, a developer-for-hire who has assisted Tripwire on a variety of games, announced on Monday afternoon that it would be cancelling all of its contracts with Tripwire due to Gibson’s support of the law.
A few hours after Shipwright's tweet, Tripwire publicly disavowed Gibson and announced he would be “stepping down” from the company, with Alan Wilson, another co-founder, named as interim CEO.
It’s not clear if Gibson is still with the company, and if so if his future role has been determined. Paste has reached out for comment and has not heard back as of press time.