The cake, decorated with the words “Special Person’s Day” drew a mass of complaints after it was posted on the retailer’s Facebook page on Sunday.
Many customers voiced their anger at Woolworths’ purported move to bring a new level of political correctness to the traditional fathers’ festival.
One man replied: “This is a disgrace and total disrespect to all fathers in Australia today… How dare you Woolworths?”
Another wrote: “Please keep Father’s Day to celebrate Dads, and don’t disappoint Australia with your political ‘special person’ cakes.”
However, some customers have thanked the chain for helping them celebrate someone other than a father.
One woman wrote: “There may be other people in their life that may have to take that role on. I truly celebrate that you have created a cake saying ‘Special person’s Day’ because for every family that does not have a mother or father around and someone else to fill that massive role, they are 100% a very special person. Well done Woolies.”
There has been speculation that the cake's icing was prompted by early childhood activist Dr Red Ruby Scarlet, who has been pushing for the day to be renamed 'Special Person's Day’, to stop children without fathers from being offended.
Responding to the Facebook comments, a Woolworths spokesman said the cake in question was actually one of several different designs available to promote Father’s Day. The uncropped picture, he said, showed other, more traditional cakes on display.
“We’re currently looking into this display with our store teams. We want to reassure you that we’re helping all customers across Australia celebrate Father’s Day as seen from our store displays, products and recipe ideas,” he wrote.
“Cropped out of this image are a range of decorative cakes that have different messages on them, including ‘Dad’ and ‘Happy Father’s Day’. Thanks again for sharing.”