Action film star Jean-Claude Van Damme has been accused of bigotry after sparring with the French minister for gender equality on issues surrounding gay marriage and feminism.
The Belgian actor, who has starred in such films as Street Fighter, Sudden Death, and The Expendables 2, locked horns with French Minister for Gender Equality Marlène Schiappa during a guest appearance on France’s ‘On n’est pas couch’ talk show on Saturday. Schiappa accused the actor of “mansplaining” after he took issue with women focusing on pursuing careers instead of raising families. Van Damme argued that women should focus on child-rearing, while it is a man’s responsibility to provide for his family.
The conversation became more heated after Schiappa asked Van Damme how same-sex couples factor into his stance.
“According to your theory, if a man marries another man or a woman marries a woman, how does that work?” she asked.
“Men marry other men?” Van Damme replied. “Men get married, women get married, dogs get married… Everybody is getting married and everybody is getting divorced,” he joked.
Schiappa lambasted Van Damme’s comments as “shocking,” saying that “we need to support [homosexuals] rather than mocking them, saying they are dogs.”
The actor pushed back, claiming he meant nothing of the sort.
“I have a lot of friends who are gay. If they want to get married, that’s OK,” Van Damme said. “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?”
According to media reports, France’s ombudsman for broadcasting standards, the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), has already received approximately 20 complaints about Van Damme’s comments on the program, and plans to investigate whether the actor violated any broadcast standards.
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