Aronofsky has never worked on a film with Dark Knight star Bale
The director of Bafta-nominated film The Wrestler has backed Christian Bale over a leaked tape in which the actor seems to lose his temper on set.
Darren Aronofsky has described the four-minute rant, littered with insults and threats, as "reasonable".
The tape was apparently recorded on the set of Terminator Salvation. A voice, believed to be Bale, is heard abusing a crew member for walking into shot.
Aronofsky said: "I think he was right. I don't think he was out of line."
The subject of the actor's fury is said to be the film's director of photography, Shane Hurlbut.
Bale is apparently heard accusing Hurlbut of repeatedly "walking around in the background" of a scene between Bale's character, John Connor, and Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays his wife.
The tirade includes the use the F-word 35 times in just over four minutes.
Speaking at last night's London Film Critics' Circle Awards, where The Wrestler was named film of the year, Aronofsky told the BBC's Colin Paterson that he understood why Bale was so annoyed.
The film is the fourth instalment in the Terminator franchise
He said: "It is a sacred time between action and cut. If it was the first time it was excusable, but a second time that ruins it."
He added that he did not think the language used had been "abusive beyond call" and that he had seen many worse things go on on set.
The tape was leaked to gossip website TMZ. Sony Pictures has refused to comment and Bale's agent has not returned calls.
Aronofsky said: "Sets are very, very high-powered places where things go awry all the time and emotions are high.
"People are out there working really hard and exposing themselves, especially actors, and they need to be protected."
He went on to say: "Although it's never good to lose your temper that bad for obvious reasons, we don't know what scene he was doing."
"He could have been doing a deeply, deeply intense emotional scene."
Meanwhile, veteran director Michael Winner said Bale was "100% right" to lose his temper.
"It is a golden rule on a movie set that you do not walk about in front of the artist during a take - you do not distract him."
Winner, whose last film was 1999's Parting Shots, added: "Why should Christian Bale interrupt what could have been his best reading of those lines, and say very quietly, 'please don't walk while I'm acting'."
Terminator Salvation is due to be released in May.