- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Conservative leaders are warning American corporations that they will pay the price for punishing right-leaning employees and red states after a Georgia-based video game company ousted its CEO for a tweet in support of a Texas law restricting abortions.

Tripwire replaced its leader, John Gibson, on Monday after he said he was proud of the Supreme Court.

“Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat,” Mr. Gibson said in a Saturday tweet. “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.”

American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp said companies getting involved in the debate over abortion policy would suffer consequences. He said his family avoids using the services of companies that take stances against conservative and pro-life policies.

“We’re no longer going to sit back and allow all major U.S. corporations to divide the country in half by always taking the side of the woke,” Mr. Schlapp said.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 last week against stopping the implementation of the Texas law banning abortions after six weeks. Litigation over the law is still advancing through lower courts.

Mr. Gibson‘s weekend tweet received thousands of replies. Many Twitter users responded with anger, and some said they would stop playing his company’s games.

Others, such as the pro-life group Students for Life of America, encouraged people to follow Mr. Gibson‘s example.

Tripwire makes games for computers and Xbox and PlayStation entertainment systems with titles such as “Maneater” and “Killing Floor.”

The company moved quickly to distance itself from Mr. Gibson‘s pro-life commentary. It said in a statement Monday that interim CEO Alan Wilson shared the company’s understanding of its culture and creative vision.

“The comments given by John Gibson are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of TripWire Interactive as a company,” said the company’s statement. “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 video game company said Mr. Gibson had “stepped down.” Mr. Gibson has not responded to requests for comment about his departure.

Tripwire‘s ouster of its CEO was met with swift condemnation from pro-life activists and advocates who share Mr. Gibson‘s opinion.

“Your CEO @RammJaeger spoke out in defense of America’s most vulnerable children & you fired him. Just despicable,” Live Action, a pro-life group, said in a Twitter message. “Your company rejects human rights & supports barbaric violence against kids.”

Tripwire is not the only company responding to the Texas law. The ride-hailing service Lyft pledged to donate $1 million to abortion provider Planned Parenthood and said it would cover the legal fees of drivers sued under the Texas law for taking women to abortion clinics.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a tweet that his company would follow Lyft‘s lead and cover legal fees for Uber’s drivers in the same way.

Some conservative and pro-life Americans see the steps taken by Tripwire, Lyft and Uber as attacks on their lifestyle and as attempts to remove them from participating in society.

The American Conservative Union organized efforts this year to push back against corporations boycotting and criticizing Georgia for its Republican-led efforts to combat election fraud in the state.

The group created the Center to Protect Voters & Their Voices after the leaders of Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola criticized Georgia’s election laws and Major League Baseball moved its summer All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.

Mr. Schlapp said his decision to stop drinking “Woke-a-Cola” proved good for his health, and he noted that his family would avoid using Lyft‘s services.

He stopped shy of calling for a boycott against companies making business decisions in response to public policy about abortion but signaled that the ACU would support pro-life policies similar to its defense of election laws enacted by conservatives.

To Tripwire, Mr. Schlapp said, “Game on.”

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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