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Tripwire CEO steps down following anti-abortion stance

John Gibson suceeded by vice president Alan Wilson, company is “deeply sorry” for comments made

Tripwire Interactive CEO John Gibson has stepped down from the position, after publicly supporting a new anti-abortion law that recently passed in Texas.

Gibson's resignation is effective immediately, and Tripwire has appointed company vice president Alan Wilson as interim CEO.

"The comments given by John Gibson are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of Tripwire Interactive as a company," the company said in a statement shared to Twitter.

"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."

The law, titled Senate Bill 8, stops individuals from legally seeking out abortions if they are over six weeks pregnant. It also gives people the option to sue anyone found to be assisting in the termination of a pregnancy.

Gibson expressed support for the law via a Twitter statement, and wrote: "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."

The tweet was heavily criticised by industry professionals, and shortly after Gibson tweeted, US developer Shipwright Studios announced that it would be retracting from all contracted work with Tripwire, after working with the studio on several of its titles, including Maneater and Chivalry 2.

Torn Banner, the studio behind Chivalry, also distanced itself from Gibson's stance with a Twitter statement, and said "this perspective is not shared by our team, nor is it reflected in the games we create."

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Latest comments (4)

Gary Shaw Programmer, Next Level Games16 days ago
Whatever happened to free speech in our society? Just for supporting a bill that passed, he has effectively lost his job. What kind of free society do we live in? You can exercise your right to "free speech", but you might lose your job...
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Alfonso Sexto Pereyra Quality Assurance Manager, DACS Laboratories GmbH15 days ago
@Gary Shaw:
This has is about corporative image. And nothing else:

When you are the CEO of a company, you speak for both your employees and stakeholders associated with you. If you take a side in a very poalizing topic, you run the risk of loosing support of the opposite side, this is why in the entertaining business you need to remain as neutral as possible.
Gibson should have known this: Investor were trying to mitigate damage related to this and quickest action was removing the "polarizing" factor. As unfair as it must sound.

That said. Gibson's free speech was not vulnerated. Free speech only means that the government can't retaliate at you for your ideas. But free speech does not shield you from the consequences of what you say. If you express and idea that others do not not want to be related with, those people ahve the right to distance themselves from you.

Moral of the story: If you run a business, keep your ideas for yourself and your closest ones, not for social media.
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Mike Dolphgren Independent Developer 15 days ago
@Alfonso Sexto Pereyra:
That's actually not true at all, as far as free speech and consequences go.

It's patently illegal under U.S. law to discriminate based on religious belief. I'm assuming, of course, that Gibson took issue with abortion because of his religion. This is a valid assumption, because the overwhelming super majority of people that identify as 'pro-life' in the U.S. do.

Both Tripwire Interactive LLC and Shipwright Studios broke federal civil rights laws and Georgia (the state they're both headquartered in) anti-discrimination laws with their actions. Whether they face any specific penalties depends on a few factors. If Gibson really "stepped down" instead of being fired (which seems incredibly unlikely) Tripwire MAY be able to get away with no penalties if he doesn't want to take action against them. This seems likely, because he is a co-founder who no doubt owns a substantial portion of the company. If he was CEO and co-founder, he may even own more than 51% - which means stepping down was 100% a PR move. Shipwright Studios canceling their contracts however, is 100% indefensible in court no matter how you look at it. I believe the government could independently take action against them regardless of what Tripwire Interactive wanted, in fact.

Not liking what someone believes does not mean you can choose not to do business with them in America, if those beliefs pertain to religion. It's a protected class much like race, nationality, and sex.

If they were located in DC or California, it'd be doubly illegal - since both of those locales outlaw discrimination based on politics as well (no other state does). Though this is rarely enforced.

Interestingly enough the only reason I know this is because of a ridiculous EEOC ruling I read about a few weeks ago that blows any potential case involving this out of the water. Frito Lay settled with a seventh day adventist because he demanded he get Saturdays off and they said no. They paid out 50k. Which is probably twice what his annual salary was. Ironically they actually had a case to fight here, because exemptions against discrimination are allowed if narrowly tailored or applicable to the way the business runs/operates, and I can't think of anything more suited to the latter than 'we need someone that can work weekends.'

The U.S. mindset that 'private businesses can discriminate however they want' is simultaneously completely false and yet amazingly widespread.
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Show all comments (4)
Alfonso Sexto Pereyra Quality Assurance Manager, DACS Laboratories GmbH14 days ago
@Mike Dolphgren:
Kinda disagree ing eneral, although I see your point. But I have to disagree with the idea that "Not liking what someone believes does not mean you can choose not to do business with them in America, if those beliefs pertain to religion. It's a protected class much like race, nationality, and sex."
That is a different scenario: You can choose not to have business with whoever you want for whatever reason. The example is those restaurants in the US that, base on the religious freedom law, can deny service to gay/atheist/whatever people.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. but seriously: thank you for taking your time to write that comment. I really miss the good talks in this website that used to be common some years ago. :)
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