A high-profile pet rabbit is receiving added attention this week as a pair of books hit the shelves with competing versions of his life story.
Marlon Bundo already enjoys an active Instagram presence, owing extensively to the fact that his owners are Vice President Mike Pence and his family.
Pence’s daughter, Charlotte, authored a children’s book about the beloved pet, “Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President,” which recently went on sale with profits set to benefit charities.
Seeing an opportunity to jab the vice president for his positions on LGBT issues while benefiting other charities in the process, comedian John Oliver caused a stir by releasing an alternate version of the book in which the titular bunny is gay.
On Sunday’s installment of his HBO program “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver took an extensive look at Pence’s record on same-sex marriage and other issues. The episode culminated with the announced release of his book, “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.”
By the next day, his version had reached the top of Amazon’s charts. A number of other celebrities provided their voices for an audio version of the book.
While it was obvious Oliver’s supporters were eager to support his work and the charities it will benefit, critics saw it as an unwarranted attack on the former Indiana governor’s Christian values.
As The Washington Free Beacon reported, a former Pence spokesman attempted to cast Oliver’s parody as particularly tasteless by contrasting it with the vice president’s recent activities.
Marc Lotter linked to an article about one of seven service members killed in a recent helicopter crash in Iraq.
Pence was on hand in Delaware when Christopher Tripp Zanetis’ remains were returned to the U.S.
— Marc Lotter – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@marc_lotter) March 20, 2018
In a tweet, Lotter wrote that while Oliver was “attacking Mike Pence over a children’s book for charity,” Pence was “welcoming home fallen heroes.”
The book’s publisher was similarly critical in a statement calling it “unfortunate that anyone would feel the need to ridicule an educational children’s book and turn it into something controversial and partisan.”
Both camps are clear that a primary motivation is raising money for charities. Pence’s profits will go toward organizations including an anti-human trafficking group while Oliver has pledged to support the Trevor Project and other LGBT advocacy groups.
Charlotte Pence does not mind the competition.
In an appearance on the Fox Business Network, she was she was “all for” Oliver’s efforts to raise money for the charities “we can all get behind.”
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) March 20, 2018
According to The Hill, the original book’s author confirmed she purchased a copy of the parody inspired by her work.
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