Social media users are divided on whether or not they support the rebranding of a famous Australian cheese.
Coon cheese announced it would officially change its name to Cheer – and it ignited a social media culture war.
Some Twitter users have vowed to never purchase the brand again, accusing its owners of pandering to political correctness.
The product was originally named after an American cheesemaker, but drew criticism due to also being a racial slur.
Bloody ridiculous! Not buying ever again!
— Derek Cornelius (@DC_CORN) January 13, 2021
The new name, revealed late on Tuesday, was chosen because it signals happiness, according to its owner, multinational Saputo Dairy.
But some thought the brand may as well have renamed itself after the culture that took it down.
Wow the wokists have finally gone too far. pic.twitter.com/y1GRp1HIWv
— Benjamin Millar (@BenjaminMillar) January 12, 2021
Indigenous groups have long lobbied for a name change, and some Twitter users pointed out that it shouldn’t be up to non-Indigenous people to decide what is offensive.
If a company changing their name helps at least one person, what issue is it to you?
Let’s use this energy to fight back again racism rather than complain about trivial things. pic.twitter.com/rWoDs3YaFG
— Stacey (@LittleSherbie) January 13, 2021
Other users were indifferent about the decision to ditch Coon, but took issue with the new name and argued Saputo Dairy could have selected something snappier.
— the wallet inspector (@brie____xoxo) January 13, 2021
On the flip side, one user vowed to go out and buy the brand after learning that the controversial rebrand had outraged One Nation politician Mark Latham.
I'm going out to buy Coon cheese. I don't know what they did, but they've done something to upset Mark Latham.
— bradpsychology (@bradpsychology) January 12, 2021
Whether the rebrand was well overdue, or whether Coon cheese was just the latest on the cancel culture chopping block, cheese enthusiasts around the country were feeling nostalgic.
Toasties at half mast today for Coon Cheese. Lest we forget.
— Blake Robinson (@CaptainCrumbz) January 13, 2021
Albanese refuses to bite
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese declined to buy into commentary about the renaming of the famous cheese.
He was peppered with questions about the rebadged Cheer cheese during a talkback radio interview on Wednesday morning but refused to entertain any prospect of a reactionary culture war.
The rebranded cheese, which has been sold in Australia since the 1930s, will hit supermarket shelves in July.
Mr Albanese said while he did not agree with rewriting history or the controversy surrounding certain statues, he had no objection to the new name.
“Frankly, I think it is a commercial decision by the company and fair enough,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.
“Certainly it was named after some American cheesemaker … it certainly isn’t named after any eulogising of a racist term.
“But the good news is the cheese will be the same. It’ll taste the same, and I think everyone will know it’s the same product.”
Mr Albanese said the company was clearly motivated by selling more cheese: “And good luck to them.”
“This is something that will come and go.’’
Saputo Dairy said its rebranding followed a review that considered “current attitudes and perspectives” after community objections to the original name, which is also a racial slur.
“Our decision to change the name of Australia’s much-loved cheese reinforces this commitment to build a culture of acceptance, inclusion and respect where everyone feels a sense of belonging,” the global head of Saputo, Lino Saputo, said on Wednesday.
Saputo’s Australian commercial director Cam Bruce said the rebadged brand would stick with the “same recipe that millions have come to love, and will continue to grow up with”.
“We remain committed to our Australian farmers who continue to produce the high-quality milk that goes into all of our products, including Cheer Cheese,” he said.
Coon cheese was originally named after the American who developed the maturation process, Edward William Coon.