John Gibson, the CEO of the the studio behind Maneater and Killing Floor, has stepped down from his role after expressing his support for an anti-abortion law in Texas. Tripwire Interactive co-founding member and current vice president Alan Wilson is taking the reins from Gibson as interim CEO, where he’ll be tasked with working with the rest of the leadership team to “take steps with employees and partners to address their concerns”. That’ll include a company-wide town hall meeting and “promoting an open dialogue” between the company’s leadership team and employees.
“The comments given by John Gibson are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of Tripwire Interactive as a company,” Tripwire says in a statement. “His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners, and much of our broader community. 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.”
Gibson’s tweet follows the news last week that the US Supreme Court would not intervene in the passing of a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks, even allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone suspected in aiding a woman end her pregnancy.
“Proud of US Supreme Court affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat,” Gibson tweeted. “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.”
— Shipwright Studios (@shipwrightstdio) September 5, 2021
The tweet sparked controversy, drawing a public response from partner Shipwright Studios, with whom the company has worked with for the past three years on projects such as Maneater and Chivalry 2. The US developer revealed that it would be cutting ties with the company as it felt it could not continue to work with Tripwire under the leadership structure it had in that moment “in good conscience”.
“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 know it is difficult for employees to speak up or act out in these scenarios, and they may not feel comfortable to speak their minds. It is regrettable, but we feel it would be doing ourselves, your employees, your partners and the industry as a whole a disservice to allow this pattern to continue without comment.”
We do not share the opinion expressed in a recent tweet by the president of Tripwire, publisher of Chivalry 2. 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.
— Torn Banner Studios (@TornBanner) September 6, 2021
Chivalry 2 developer Torn Banner Studios has also publicly distanced itself from Gibson’s comment. “We do not share the opinion expressed in a recent tweet by the president of Tripwire, publisher of Chivalry 2,” Torn Banner Studios said on Twitter. “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.”