Tuesday, January 26, 2021

‘Offensive’ Coon Cheese to be rebranded in Australia after anti-racism campaign

Last year's Black Lives Matter movement has prompted many manufacturers to examine their products for names that could cause offence.

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The manufacturers of Coon Cheese in Australia will change its name to “Cheer” after activists campaigned against the word’s racist connotations.

The brand, which is well known across Asia and has been around for more than 80 years, will disappear from shelves in July, the BBC is reporting.

The cheese is owned by Canada’s Saputo Dairy Australia which announced last year it would “retire” the name.

Coon is historically used as a racist slur, and aboriginal groups have lobbied for its rebranding for decades.

It is one of a number of brands to face pressure to rebrand following last year’s Black Lives Matter movement.

“The name Cheer has the significance of pleasure and joy,” said Saputo’s chief executive Lino Saputo in a statement, adding that the company spent more than six months deliberating over the new name.

The cheese is named after American pioneering cheese maker Edward William Coon who patented a ripening process in the 1920s.

In November, global food giant Nestle made a similar move to stamp out some of their Australian product names after they were deemed offensive.

The company said Redskins and Chicos lollies will be changed to Red Ripper and Cheekies, saying the original names were now “out of step” with the company’s values.

The name change for Coon Cheese has divided public opinion in Australia. Some have welcomed the move while others have voiced their anger on social media.

However, Saputo is sure he is doing the right thing. He said, “Treating people with respect and without discrimination is one of our basic principles and it is imperative that we continue to uphold this in everything we do.”

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