Australian cheese rebrands after 20-year racism battle

By: AFP      Published: 12:28 PM, 13 Jan, 2021
Australian cheese rebrands after 20-year racism battle

An Australian cheese company called "Coon" will rebrand to "Cheer" after an Indigenous activist spent two decades fighting for the racist name to be changed.

Saputo Dairy Australia announced the new name Wednesday, saying replacement products would hit supermarket shelves in July.

It follows a 20-year campaign by Indigenous advocate and author Stephen Hagan to rebrand the product.

Although purportedly a reference to a US cheese factory worker, the former name is also an offensive slur for black people.

Hagan had petitioned previous company owners over the name but failed to sway executives until now.

Saputo said the change came after "careful and diligent review to honour the brand-affinity felt by our consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives".

"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," CEO Lino Saputo said in a statement.

The announcement comes two months after Nestle said it would rename Australian sweets called 'Red Skins' and 'Chicos' amid a global backlash over racist branding.