Nineties action star Jean-Claude Van Damme has drawn criticism by making a series of off-colour gay jokes.

Appearing on a French television show on Saturday, Van Damme reportedly made the remarks about same-sex relationships.

Gender Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa had challenged the Belgian star on his attitudes about gender relations, asking him what he thought of same-sex relationship dynamics after he had seemed to imply women belong in the home.

“Men get married, women get married, dogs get married… everyone is getting married and everyone is getting divorced,” Van Damme said, to audience laughter.

Schiappa called out Van Damme’s joke immediately, calling it “shocking”.

“I’m sorry, but this is not funny,” she said.

“This is the day of the Pride parade where people march to defend their rights.

“I find this shocking.

“There are people who are beaten and insulted because they are homosexual. We need to support them rather than mocking them, saying they are dogs.”

Van Damme defended the comment, saying he has gay friends.

“If they want to get married, that’s okay,” he added.

“But the question is, if all the boys marry each other and all the women marry each other, how are we going to have children?”

The studio audience reacted again with laughter to the star’s joke, though not all viewers were so impressed.

Social media users called his comments “ignorant” and “homophobic”.

Van Damme has himself been married five times, and has three children.

Watch the television show segment below (note that the dialogue is in French without subtitles).

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