Co-developer Maneater cuts ties with Tripwire after anti-abortion post

Shipwright Studios, the co-developer behind man eater as well as a number of other titles, announced it is severing ties and canceling all contracts with publisher Tripwire Interactive after the latter’s president, John Gibson, recently posted comments on Twitter in support of recent anti-abortion laws in Texas. In particular, the studio criticized the president for involving his partners and employees in the matter by making the comments public.

In context, the U.S. Supreme Court recently failed to rule on a controversial Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Worse, the ban allows private individuals to bring civil lawsuits against people who break the law, effectively creating “bodies” against everyone involved. In addition, the law also goes against Roe v. Wade, a previous Supreme Court case that ruled in favor of women’s freedom to have an abortion.

On September 5, 2021, John Gibson posted on Twitter that he was “proud of #USSupremeCourt upholding Texas law banning abortion for heartbeat babies,” stating that he “thought it was important to step up as a pro-life game developer” after seeing that so many vocal peers are opposing the law.

Clear misunderstandings aside (the Supreme Court didn’t “confirm” the law and simply didn’t rule it in time), Gibson’s comments sparked controversy within the video game industry. god of war director Cory Balrog expressed disbelief in Gibson’s opinion, asking how one could “be proud of claiming dominion over a woman’s personal freedoms.”

The controversial statement led Shipwright Studios to launch a public announcement on Twitter— in response to Gibson’s own tweet, no less — condemning Gibson’s public comments. Below are a few parts of the studio’s announcement:

Although your politics is yours, once you make it a public discussion, you entangle all those who work for and with you… We know it is difficult for employees to speak up or act in these scenarios, and they may not feel comfortable expressing their opinions. It is regrettable, but we feel it would be a disservice to ourselves, your employees, your partners and the industry as a whole to allow this pattern to continue without comment.

We started Shipwright with the idea that it was finally time to put our money where our mouth is. We cannot conscientiously continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership structure.

“We will begin canceling our existing contracts with immediate effect,” the post concluded.

Likewise, Torn Banner Studios – the development team behind another Tripwire Interactive property, Chivalry II – also issued a statement where it clarified that Gibson’s opinions stood “contrary to what” [they] believe in women’s rights.”

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