Coon cheese to dump “racist” name

The Canadian owners of the Australian Coon cheese have said they will be dumping the brand’s name after careful consideration.

The company sent a letter to Aboriginal activist Stephen Hagan which noted they would be honouring the memory of the brand while simultaneously encapsulating the brand’s new values. 

The name change follows after Mr Hagan and others notable names including actor Josh Thomas called out the brand name earlier this year, saying it was “racist”.

Saputo Dairy Australia has since responded to the calls, with the company’s CEO Lino Saputo Jr saying in a statement the brand is developing a new name that will be “aligning with current attitudes and perspectives”.

“We performed a careful and diligent review of this sensitive situation,” Mr Saputo Jr said.

“We wanted to ensure we listened to all the concerns surrounding the COON brand name, while also considering comments from consumers who cherish the brand and recognise the origin of its founder Edward William Coon, which they feel connected to.

“After thorough consideration, Saputo has decided to retire the COON brand name. As part of this process of transformation, we commit to keep our stakeholders informed as we move forward.

“At this time, we are working to develop a new brand name that will honour the brand affinity felt by our valued consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives.”

The brand was originally named after American Edward William Coon despite being an Australian company.

However, the word is also a highly offensive racial slur used towards people of colour.

Dr Hagan has been lobbying for more than two decades for the company to change the brand name.

In 1999 Mr Hagan took his concerns to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission about the brand name with a complaint.

However, his complaint was unsuccessful.

His more recent complaint said the name should be “consigned to the past of outdated racist brands’’.

Earlier this year, comedian and actor Josh Thomas sparked a heated debate by posting about the brand name and asking if it was still acceptable.

Many argued the brand name was historic and had nothing to do with race.

Others did say they felt it was time for a change.

This article originally appeared on Over60.