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John Oliver’s gay bunny parody is outselling the original.
Charlotte Pence, daughter of Vice President Mike Pence and author of the children’s book Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, revealed that she bought John Oliver’s gay parody of her book.
Oliver’s book, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, features the Pence family rabbit, Marlon Bundo, falling in love with another male rabbit, a direct jab at the vice president’s anti-LGBTQ beliefs. The book, written by Last Week Tonight scribe Jill Twiss and illustrated by EG Keller, beat Pence’s for the number one spot on the Amazon children’s best sellers chart.
“I have bought his book,” Pence said in an interview with The Hill. “He’s giving proceeds of the book to charity, and we’re also giving proceeds of our book to charity, so I really think that we can all get behind it.”
Some proceeds from Pence’s book will go to A21, which fights human trafficking, and Tracy’s Kids, a charity that provides art therapy for child cancer patients. All of the proceeds from Oliver’s book will go to The Trevor Project, which supports LGBTQ youth, and AIDS United.
“I also want to support those charities,” Pence said. “I really mean that.”
Pence’s book features Marlon Bundo, the Pence family pet (who also has his own Instagram account), following the vice president around for the day. Oliver’s version has Marlon, complete with snazzy bowtie, falling in love with another male rabbit named Wesley. But when the two decide to marry, a stink bug bearing a strong resemblance to the current vice president forbids them from doing so.
Oliver’s book has sold 180,000 copies so far, driving a second printing. “At that point, it’s getting ridiculous,” Oliver said in an interview with Seth Meyers, adding that the number is, “definitely more than we were prepared for.”
Vice President Pence has a long history of supporting anti-LGBTQ measures, both as governor of Indiana and as a member of Congress. As governor, he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ people on the basis of their sexuality in the name of religious freedom.
But Charlotte Pence insists that there’s room enough for both bunny books on children’s shelves. “It doesn’t have to be divisive,” she told The Hill. “I think everybody can come together over Marlon.”
Indeed, Marlon Bundo’s Instagram account shows a photo of him, dressed up in a bowtie, held by a smiling Charlotte Pence. The caption tags John Oliver and “Last Week Tonight,” and reads, “Not gonna lie, I look pretty fly in a bow tie. The only thing better than one bunny book for charity is…TWO bunny books for charity.”
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.