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Cheese brand is getting a new name to help 'eliminate racism in all its forms'

'We performed a careful and diligent review of a sensitive situation'

Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images

A cheese brand will undergo a name change in order to help "eliminate racism in all its forms," Australian station 9News reported.

The brand's name is Coon, the station said.

The company behind the brand was originally Australian-owned, 9News said, and the cheese is said to be named after American Edward William Coon, who patented a process of making cheese in Philadelphia.

"Coon" was historically used as a racial slur against people with dark skin, particularly of African American, Australian Aboriginal, or Pacific island heritage, the station said.

What are the details?

Canadian parent company Saputo now owns the brand and made the name change announcement Friday, 9News reported, saying the company wanted to align with "current attitudes and perspectives."

"At Saputo, one of our basic principles as an organization is to treat people with respect and without discrimination, and we will not condone behavior that goes against this," a statement read, according to the station.

Here's the rest of the statement, 9News noted:

"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 recognize 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. We are working to develop a new brand name that will honor the brand-affinity felt by our valued consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives. 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 change comes after more than two decades of campaigning by Indigenous activist Stephen Hagan, the station said.

Anything else?

Similar name changes have been taking place over the last two months amid furious worldwide pushes against racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May.

Most prominently, the Washington Redskins of the National Football League dropped their name — which many believe is offensive to Native Americans — after intense corporate and social pressure. The team announced Thursday that it will be called the Washington Football Team in 2020.

A similar campaign convinced Quaker Oats to retire the "Aunt Jemima" moniker and logo from its products.

One last thing…
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