One of John Oliver’s most enduring jibes at the Trump administration began last March, when he released “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” a children’s parody book centered around Mike Pence’s family pet rabbit discovering it is gay and falling in love with a male hare. The book was a response to Pence’s history of homophobia, with 100% of the proceeds going to LBGTQ non-profits such as The Trevor Project and AIDS United. While Oliver’s parody book was a favorite online, it clearly angered enough people to land near the top of the American Library Association’s list of the most challenged books of 2018.
Each year, the American Library Association and the Office for Intellectual Freedom release the 10 most challenged book titles in the country, based on censorship in schools and libraries. Oliver’s “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” ranked #2 on this year’s list as it was widely censored or banned across America for “including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints.” Alex Gino’s book “George,” about a 10-year-old transgender girl, was the year’s most challenged title. The American Library Association’s full list is here. “Marlon Bundo” is written by “Last Week Tonight” staff writer Jill Twiss and illustrated by EG Keller.
The official book description reads: “‘A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo’ is a children’s book that imagines the story of Marlon Bundo as he falls in love with another bunny, Wesley (played by Ferguson). The two decide to wed, only to be told by the Stink Bug in charge that same-sex marriage is not allowed. When Marlon, Wesley, and their supportive animal community realize that they can choose who is in charge of their society, they vote out the Stink Bug and the couple is married surrounded by their friends.”
The American Library Association defines a “challenge” as a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.” Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” airs Sunday nights at 11pm ET on HBO.