Tripwire Interactive replace CEO after backlash over controversial statements

Tripwire Interactive has announced that John Gibson has stepped down from his role as CEO of the company. This follows the widespread criticism and backlash to his controversial Tweet over the weekend that backed the anti-abortion laws that were recently put in place in the state of Texas.

Gibson has been replaced by Alan Wilson, another co-founder and current Vice President, who will now be interim CEO.

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A statement issued by Tripwire Interactive 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.

At this time, while Gibson is no longer CEO, his profile on LinkedIn still lists him as president and co-owner of the privately held company. It’s not clear if he will remain president (if it’s considered a separate role in the company structure), though he will retain a stake in the company unless he is bought out. We’ve reached out to Tripwire for clarification on this matter, and I have a feeling that this fact is going to come up at the company-wide town hall meeting and be a factor for those who have decided to boycott Tripwire’s games over Gibson’s statements.

Gibson had come out in support of anti-abortion laws in Texas that effectively banned abortions more than six weeks after conception – a time at which an infinitesimally small percentage of women would be able to know that they are pregnant. The law does not rely on the police to enforce the law, but instead allows third party citizens to bring a $10,000 lawsuit against any other person who they accuse of helping a woman to get an abortion. This could be used to target clinics within the state, or even cab drivers that take women to a clinic.

The law rapidly appeared in front of the US Supreme Court, who decided not to pass an injunction on a tricky technicality, which has led to scathing responses from President Joe Biden and other senior politicians.

Gibson’s tweet saw him come out as a ‘pro-life game developer’, which is fine as a personal belief, though did so by giving his support to this legislation and US Supreme Court’s decision to step aside.

The industry was quick to react to the statement from John Gibson, putting the studio’s reputation and working relationships in jeopardy. Shipwright Studios, which worked on Maneater and Chivalry, is cancelling all contracts with the company.

 

Torn Banner Studios, developers of Chivalry 2, has also condemned the tweet.

It’s not immediately clear if Gibson stepping down is resetting the relationships with Shipwright and Torn Banner.

Source: Tripwire Interactive

 

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