Elio Di Rupo, Belgium’s openly gay Prime Minister, has been branded as “shameless” after he was filmed changing his shirt on a behind-the-scenes television programme.

According to Le Huffington Post on Tuesday, the image of the Belgian leader undressing from his shirt on a hot day was used as part of the teaser for a programme on the private lives of famous personalities.

It has since stirred up a great deal of controversy among rival politicians.

Alain Destexhe, a liberal politician, said: “It’s outrageous. I am ashamed for our country Belgium.”

He added: “In which country in the world would a head of state or prime minister stoop so much to devalue and trivialise his function? Imagine if Obama, Hollande, Rajoy, Merkel or Cameron undressed before a camera.”

Journalist Emmanuelle Praet also called the shirtless image “the epitome of indecency.”

In 2008, Rupo described himself in an interview as an “atheist, rationalist and free mason”, and said his life had been “a fairy tale”.

He came out in 1996 when he was accused, wrongly, of having had sex with a male minor. A journalist said: “They say you are a homosexual.”

He replied, “Yes, so what?”

In the interview with Van de Woestyne, Di Rupo described the journalists as being “so surprised they stopped jostling each other”.