Christian CEO of video game developer steps down amid backlash to support for Texas abortion law

John Gibson is president and co-founder of Tripwire Interactive.
John Gibson is president and co-founder of Tripwire Interactive. | YouTube/PC Gamer

Two days after publicly announcing his support for Texas’ heartbeat bill banning most abortions in the state after six weeks gestation, John Gibson, the Christian president and co-founder of video game development and publishing company Tripwire Interactive, has stepped down amid fierce public backlash over his position.

“The comments given by John Gibson 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 Georgia-based company explained in a statement Monday.

"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. Effective immediately, John Gibson has stepped down as CEO of Tripwire Interactive."

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The company is best known for producing the “Red Orchestra" series and the “Killing Floor" series.

As pro-life advocates celebrated the bill going into effect on Sept. 1 and pro-choice advocates railed against it, Gibson said in a tweet Saturday evening that he felt it was important for him to go on the record about the issue himself.

He praised the U.S. Supreme Court after it voted not to issue an emergency order blocking the bill from taking effect. 

“Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat," Gibson wrote. "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."

Two developers, Shipwright Studios and Torn Banner Studios, quickly distanced themselves from Gibson’s statement.

"While your politics are your own, the moment you make them a matter of public discourse you entangle all of those working for you and with you," Shipwright Studios said in response to Gibson’s tweet.

The developer added that it would cancel existing contracts with Tripwire.

“We started Shipwright with the idea that it was finally time to put our money where our mouth is. We cannot in good conscience continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership structure. We will begin the cancellation of our existing contracts effective immediately,” Shipwright ended.

Torn Banner Studios noted in statement: “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 Torn Banner Studios added. "The statement stands in opposition to what we believe about women’s rights.”

Texas’ heartbeat law allows individuals to take civil action against anyone who “performs and induces an abortion” or “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of abortion through insurance or otherwise.” 

Last Friday, District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin, Texas, temporarily shielded Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in the state from being sued by Texas Right to Life under the new law.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday that the federal government was exploring “all options” to challenge the law and “protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons.”

“While the Justice Department urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion, we will continue to protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services pursuant to our criminal and civil enforcement of the FACE Act, 18 U.S.C. § 248,” Garland said in a statement.

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