Video game CEO steps down after Texas abortion law backlash

Tripwire Interactive faced an intense backlash from fans over the weekend after its co-founder and former CEO John Gibson tweeted that he supported the United States Supreme Court’s decision to allow a Texas abortion law to stand.

A Texas law that has been dubbed the 'heartbeat bill' bans abortions after six weeks and deputizes citizens to sue people who perform or aid in the procedure [File: Michael M Santiago/Getty Images/AFP]

The head of video game publisher Tripwire Interactive LLC stepped down late Monday following severe backlash to comments he made in support of the recent Texas anti-abortion law.

John Gibson, the former CEO who co-founded Tripwire in 2005, said Saturday on Twitter that he supported the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow the Texas law to stand. The law bans abortions after six weeks and deputizes citizens to sue people who perform or aid in the procedure.

Tripwire, which publishes games such as this year’s popular medieval battler Chivalry 2, faced intense pressure from fans over the weekend including calls for boycotts. Shipwright Studios, a development partner, said it was canceling contracts with Tripwire over Gibson’s comments. Some Tripwire employees also shared criticism on their own private social media accounts.

“His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community,” the publisher said in a statement.

Several companies have been outspoken critics of the law, and some have announced measures to help support staff that could be affected by the ban.

Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. pledged to pay legal fees for drivers who are sued, while dating app companies Match Inc. and Bumble Inc. said they would launch relief funds to help employees impacted by the legislation. GoDaddy Inc., which provides web-hosting services, said it informed the group Texas Right to Life that it needs to find a new hosting provider.

Tripwire said in the statement Monday that Gibson will be replaced by fellow co-founder Alan Wilson. “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,” the company said.

Tripwire didn’t say whether Gibson would remain with the company or retain ownership.

Read more: How Texas Abortion Law Turns Public Into Enforcers: QuickTake

(Updates with partner comment in the third paragraph.)

Source: Bloomberg