Saputo Dairy Australia says it will rename its controversial Coon cheese brand after battling accusations of racial insensitivity for the past few weeks.
The racial slur was highlighted by Australian comedian Josh Thomas who on Twitter previously suggested that Coon cheese should be renamed due to an associated racial slur. A spokesperson for Saputo Dairy Australia previously defended the brand name explaining that it was named after Edward William Coon, “who patented a unique ripening process that was used to manufacture the original Coon cheese”.
“It’s amazing the respect people have for the name of a man who invented a processing technique of cheese – who died in 1934. And the disrespect they have for Black people,” Thomas tweeted further on the issue.
Saputo has responded to the issue, releasing a statement stating it is a basic principle of the company to “treat people with respect and without discrimination” and that it does not condone such behaviour.
“As such, we performed a careful and diligent review of a sensitive situation involving one of our brands. 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,” said Saputo.
The company has decided to retire the Coon brand name and says it is working on a new name for the product that will still “honour the brand-affinity felt by our valued consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives”.
Saputo added it shares the same responsibility as other brands to eliminate racism in all its forms and believes it is an important step it must take to uphold this commitment.
Not all netizens are aligned in their view, as these Twitter posts show: