Don't look know, all you residents of the Hoosier State, but your elementary school libraries could soon be stocked with a certain HBO host's debut children's book. Specifically, John Oliver's book about Mike Pence's gay bunny is being donated to every elementary school in the vice president's home state.
If you're a fan of Oliver's popular HBO show Last Week Tonight, then you probably already know all about the book, which is at its core both an LGBTQ-inclusive children's book, and an overt trolling of Vice President Pence. Oliver released the book one day prior to the debut of a children's book authored by Pence's wife Karen and their daughter Charlotte, framed around the family's pet rabbit, humorously known as Marlon Bundo.
So far, Oliver's book ― titled A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo, and written by Jill Twiss ― has greatly outsold the Pence family's version, claiming the number one bestseller slot on Amazon after its release. Unlike the Pence version, Oliver's book tells a love story between two gay rabbits, seeking acceptance of their love in the face of a society that does not totally approve. And now, thanks to Will & Grace creator Max Mutchnick, copies of Oliver's book are reportedly being sent to every elementary school in Indiana.
In an Instagram post, Mutchnick explained his decision to donate the books, and when you consider how many elementary schools there are in Indiana, it's going to provide Oliver a serious bump in sales. Proceeds from the book, according to the HBO host, will go to AIDS United and The Trevor Project.
"I was blown away by the new John Oliver children’s book, 'A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,'" Mutchnick wrote on Friday. "With Easter upon us, I wanted to not only support the brilliance of John Oliver, but also celebrate the Gayest Bunny of Them All: The Easter Bunny. So I decided to buy a copy of Oliver’s “Bundo” (written by Jill Twiss) for every public grammar school in Indiana. All 1,121 of them."
"Here’s why: Mike Pence has had an enormous platform in Indiana, and as it relates to gay people, he’s used it to spread a message of intolerance. By donating these books, I hope to counter those efforts and provide positive role models and a story of inclusion for children in Pence’s home state," Mutchnick continued. "If this book can help one boy or girl in Indiana love and accept who they are, I know both Marlon Bundos would be proud—even though one of them is on the downlow."
Prior to becoming vice president, Pence was governor of the state of Indiana, and as such he remains a hugely prominent figure within the state. Before that, he served as a House representative from Indiana's 2nd congressional district from 2001 to 2003, then Indiana's 6th congressional district from 2003 to 2013.
Pence has denied that he's anti-LGBTQ, most recently claiming such stories were "fake news" in a tweet to openly gay Olympian Adam Rippon. In 2006, however, Pence argued on the House floor that America accepting same-sex marriage would likely bring bout a "societal collapse."
He has also been accused of supporting so-called gay conversion therapy, thanks to a statement on his campaign website in 2000 that resources should be given to groups that help people "change their sexual behavior."
Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.
Pence's spokespeople have since claimed his words were misconstrued, however, and that he was not intending to endorse conversion therapy. Regardless, his record on LGBTQ rights has been as scrutinized as any politician in Washington, D.C. in recent years, and that's a big part of why Oliver's book has found so many fans.