Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Texas' new law which does not allow many people to abort after the detection of a foetal heartbeat, before which point most women don't even know that they are pregnant. The "Heartbeat Act" also allows citizens to sue practitioners and healthcare professionals who attempt to bypass this law and perform an abortion after the six-week point of pregnancy. They may also seek up to $10,000 in damages from a civil court.
Needless to say, the law has been quite controversial. Game development company Tripwire Interactive's CEO John Gibson decided to voice his thoughts on the matter, saying on Twitter that:
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.— John Gibson (@RammJaeger) September 4, 2021
The statement caused massive backlash from major game developers such as Cory Barlog (God of War) and Cliff Bleszinski (Gear of War, Unreal Tournament), along with thousands of members of the public, who stated that they would not purchase more games from the company moving forward. Some partner studios also expressed disappointment over the Gibson's statement and announced that they would be cutting off ties with Tripwire. The studio is the developer and publisher behind several major titles such as Killing Floor, Killing Floor 2, Chivalry 2, Maneater, and more.
Following the massive backlash against Gibson's statement, Tripwire Interactive has announced that the executive is stepping down from his position and will be replaced by interim CEO Alan Wilson. The full statement reads:
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. 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. Co-founding member and current Vice President, Alan Wilson, will take over as interim CEO. Alan has been with the company since its formation in 2005 and is an active lead in both the studio’s business and developmental affairs. Alan will work with the rest of the Tripwire leadership team to take steps with employees and partners to address their concerns including executing a company-wide town hall meeting and promoting open dialogue with Tripwire leadership and all employees. His understanding of both the company’s culture and the creative vision of our games will carry the team through this transition, with full support from the other Tripwire leaders.
Given this major shake-up mere hours after Gibson's statement, it's clear that Tripwire wants to distance itself from all the sudden negative press that it is getting. It's yet to be seen who will be the new CEO of Tripwire Interactive after the interim tenure.