British comedian John Oliver skewered Mayor Catherine Pugh over the scandal surrounding her self-published Healthy Holly books, and he joined the ranks of people calling for her resignation during a segment of his HBO show Sunday night.
On "Last Week Tonight," Oliver slammed Pugh for the book deal that prompted her to take a leave of absence, and he told viewers she shouldn’t return to office.
“Baltimore has a long history of corruption, but its latest scandal is truly remarkable,” Oliver said before launching into a brief history of Healthy Holly.
Pugh made nearly $800,000 by selling her children’s books to companies, organizations and individuals, some of whom had contracts with the city.
After recapping the scandal, Oliver took a closer look at the “Healthy Holly” books. Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed. He poked fun at their substance (including a family enjoying a dinner of large salads with a side of salad) and errors throughout the books — most notably multiple spellings of “Herbie”/”Herby,” one of the books’ main characters, and the misspelling of “vegetable” (“vegetale”).
“It is hard to believe Pugh’s books were bought purely on the base of literary merit,” Oliver said. “In her educational children’s book about eating right, she spelled [expletive] vegetable wrong!”
Oliver then showed clips of Pugh at a news conference before she took leave, where she showcased children’s clothes that carried the same messages as her Healthy Holly books. The onesies and bibs encouraged children to “walk, run, crawl, skip, dance,” though Oliver was skeptical those messages would get through to the babies for which they were designed.
“While there have been no formal charges so far the whole thing does not look good for Baltimore’s mayor,” Oliver said. “And unless there’s a very good explanation here that I can’t see and does not exist, it might be better for her to read the writing on the onesie and walk, run, crawl, skip or dance her way out of office.”
His suggestion came hours before the entire membership of the Baltimore City Council, aside from council president and acting Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, called for Pugh to resign on Monday.