Australian comedian Josh Thomas has called for Coon Cheese to be renamed because of its historical use as a racist slur. 

The Please Like Me actor tweeted a photo of the cheese with the caption: “Hey Australia – are we still chill with this?”

 

The cheese made by the Warrnambool Cheese and Dairy Company is named after its US creator Edward William Coon.

Despite being named after its inventor, Josh Thomas argued that the name is offensive and disrespectful, and should be changed.

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“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,” he tweeted, in response to those justifying the name.

The comedian went on to say that the name should be changed to something more inclusive.

While some agreed with Thomas, others vehemently disagreed, with one saying: “It’s the name of a type of cheese making process based on the inventors name. Yes, it’s the same as the very offensive slur, but that’s the basis.”

Another added, “I feel like your [sic] just stirring the pot now”.

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“It’s dizzying how fast people in my timeline went from not believing people overseas think Australians are racist, to passionately defending ‘Coon’ as a brandname for a mediocre cheese,” Thomas responded.

Production of the Coon brand in Australia started in 1935 and continued through to 1942 before the war. Manufacturing then restarted in 1948. The cheese was reportedly made in a red waxed cloth known as ‘Red Coon’.

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