New John Oliver Children’s Bunny Book Spoofs Pence Family Bunny Book & Supports LGBTQ Rights
Just in time for Easter, there are two new bunny stories on the market—both with very different tales.
Comedian host of the HBO show “Last Week Tonight” John Oliver is promoting a new children’s book that spoofs Vice President Mike Pence’s stance against LGBTQ rights. Both are written from the perspective of the Pence’s family bunny, Marlon Bundo.
The first one is written by Vice President Mike Pence’s daughter, Charlotte, and illustrated by her mother Karen. “Marlon Bundo’s: A Day in the Life of the Vice President” is inspired by the Pence family’s real-life pet rabbit of the same name, depicting his life alongside the prominent family.
Pence’s bunny book is currently at number 4 on Amazon’s Best Seller list. The Pence family will donate a portion of their proceeds to A21, a non-profit focused on combating human trafficking, as well as to an art therapy program at Riley Hospital for Children.
The other bunny book that’s hitting the shelves is a direct spoof of the Pences’ book. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” is written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by Indiana artist E.G. Keller. It follows Marlon Bundo as he meets another bunny named Wesley and they decide to get married. However, his “Grampa,” Vice President Mike Pence, declares that “boy bunnies don’t marry boy bunnies.” This statement reflects Pence’s well-publicized views against LGBTQ rights.
The book topped the original, and is currently at number 1 on Amazon’s Best Seller list, with a five-star rating from over 3,000 reviews.
John Oliver appeared on “Ellen” this week and explained the inspiration behind the book. “We on top of [the Pence family releasing a book about their bunny] have released our own book about his bunny where his bunny falls in love with another male bunny,” John Oliver stated on the show.
“Let me be completely clear about this: this is actually a book for children. This is a real children’s book,” Oliver clarified on his own show. “This isn’t some adult book telling Mike Pence to go f— himself. Although, in buying it, that’s exactly what you would be doing.”
An audio version of the book features performances by RuPaul, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, John Lithgow, Jim Parsons, Ellie Kempner, Jeff Garlin and Jack McBrayer.
“Please, buy it for your children, buy it for any child you know, or just buy it because you know it would annoy Mike Pence,” Oliver said. “You would be doing a nice thing in a really d—ish way, and isn’t that the dream at the end of the day?”
Although John Oliver’s intentions can be seen as noble and for a good cause, both morally and financially, as all proceeds will go to The Trevor Project and AIDS United, not everyone is happy about Oliver’s book.
The content of his spoof isn’t outright negative—it ostensibly centers on a love story between two characters—but was it the right choice to spoof an innocuous children’s book that has no overt political angle?
Some see Oliver’s choice of words to promote it veering towards aggression. In an age of hyper-awareness towards bullying, is that teaching the public—including the children this book is targeted towards—to fight negativity with more negativity?
Mike Pence is well known for his public opposition to LGBTQ rights. Thus, others celebrate Oliver’s book as standing up for LGBTQ rights, a minority group that is often victimized and targeted publicly and privately.