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'Woke madness': Aussie bakery prompts outrage by removing the cross from their hot cross buns

'Woke madness': Aussie bakery prompts outrage by removing the cross from their hot cross buns

Well, I guess they really crossed the line with those buns!
11 April 2023 4:56PM

When we think of Easter, we think of hot cross buns, don't we?

There are a whole range of different versions available now in supermarkets and bakeries but typically they have one thing in common: A cross over the bun.

Not so for one Australian bakery which stirred up controversy by removing this crucial component of the Easter delicacy.

Riser Bread in Brisbane has become instantly infamous for its 'Easter Time' buns, which are virtually identical to hot cross buns, but without the cross on top. 

Of course, the cross signifies Jesus' crucifixion, and the buns are traditionally consumed on Good Friday to commemorate the conclusion of Lent.

The bakery's decision to eliminate the cross has proven hard to swallow for many, with people taking to social media and describing Riser Bread as "woke" - including the former CEO of Brumby's bakery franchise, Michael Sherlock.

Sherlock expressed his criticism to The Courier-Mail, describing the decision to remove the cross as "just another cause of woke madness removing the name hot cross buns".

"This wouldn’t have happened in my time at Brumby’s. You can’t have Easter without hot cross buns," Sherlock said.

"They’ve been synonymous with Easter celebrations since the 12th century in England."

One social media user commented: "Always avoid woke companies", with another critic adding: "The reality is.... Easter is a Christian religious festival. Australia is a Christian country. The Cross is a Christian symbol."

Another user remarked: "I hope everyone has a great Easter. I don't care if others have Easter Time Buns but in our house, we will be enjoying Hot Cross Buns. But whatever."

Tom Cooney, the CEO of Riser Bread, replied to these comments by emphasising that he and the bakery's two other co-owners did not have any intentions of reinventing the tasty treat.

"It’s not an attempt at reinvention," Cooney told Brisbane radio station 4BC.

"We thought, ‘let’s just do an Easter time bun that’s non-denominational’. None of us are Christian, [it] feels a bit weird to put a cross on there," Cooney continued. 

In a statement to Tyla, the bakery said: "The backlash is 100 percent online. Our customers love the buns and they’ve completely sold out each day we’ve baked them. We have as many people getting in touch to say how delicious the buns are [as] we do angry Christians telling us God will take away our profits.

"It’s absurd to have someone… visit our Instagram just to let us know we’re disgusting without ever having set foot in our shop. We have the most warm and welcoming staff any business could hope for.

"Not adding the cross to an Easter Spiced Bun is easier and tastier than adding it. The cross is just flour and water and tastes terrible!

"This was never a stance against Christianity or for any particular agenda. It felt disingenuous to use a Christian symbol when none of us are Christians. It’s as simple as that. We actually thought good Christian folk might get behind the idea of resisting the commodification of their most important symbol."

Some social media users came to the bakery's defence, pointing out that Easter can mean many things to different people.

"Easter has evolved to be more than just the Christian take on things," one person wrote.

"It has come to mean time with family, creating a joy-filled experience for kids with the magic of the Easter bunny. We have become a secular country so Christians can’t have tantrums and cry foul when everything is not centred around them."

"It’s originally a pagan celebration so religious people have been doing the same thing for far longer," another user pointed out. 

"If you want to argue the toss, explain where rabbits and eggs fit into Christian mythos. Same goes for Christmas."