In no surprise whatsoever, Australia’s most blindingly White pelicans are having a sook over the rebranding of Coon Cheese to something that is not a racial slur. The dairy product has been officially renamed Cheer Cheese.
Last July, Canadian dairy company Saputo, the current owners of Cheer Cheese, acknowledged the racist undertones of the original brand name and announced it would be retired in Australia.
The cheese was originally named after its founder Edward William Coon in 1935, although the scrutiny stems from the word being used as a racial slur against Black people.
“We believe we all share in the responsibility to eliminate racism in all its forms and we feel this is an important step we must take to uphold this commitment,” the company said in a statement at the time.
On Wednesday morning, Cheer Cheese was announced as the dairy product’s new name.
Chair and CEO of Saputo Inc., Lino A. Saputo, said in a statement that the decision to change the brand’s name reinforced the company’s commitment to build a culture of acceptance, inclusion, and respect.
Cam Bruce, the commercial director of Saputo Dairy Australia, echoed his statement, adding that the recipe for Cheer Cheese has not changed. It is, and I cannot stress this enough, the same cheese.
“Cheer Cheese is the same recipe that millions have come to love, and will continue to grow up with, for generations to come,” he said.
Again, it is the same recipe.
The rebranding is the result of a 21-year campaign led by Indigenous activist and author Dr Stephen Hagan.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald after the decision was first announced, Hagan said he was relieved more than anything else.
“But with that relief comes concern about the intensity of criticism from people who object strongly to any change to a little bit of yellow culinary item that people have on their meals. That worries me more than anything else,” he said.
Like clockwork, your usual suspects of bitter lemons have taken to Twitter to voice their outrage over the rebranding of cheese. Many swore off Cheer, pledging to buy their cheese from other brands.
— Sophie Elsworth (@sophieelsworth) January 12, 2021
Their tweets inspired the following.
Imagine living through a pandemic, the US hitting 400k deaths, democracy under siege; the UK, equally overrun, not feeding school kids, stumbling out of the EU; the same Murdoch press assaulting Australian democracy… and you're just upset the cheese name isn't racist anymore?
— David Milner (@DaveMilbo) January 12, 2021
In fact – and this is yet another example of how ridiculous this country is – Anthony Albanese, Leader of the Opposition, was asked about the cheese rebrand during an appearance on Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday morning.
Albanese said he had no objections to renaming the cheese.
Cheer Cheese will appear on supermarket shelves nationwide from July 2021.