Was Christian Bale Provoked?

Sources have come forward to report that Christian Bale, 35, might have had his reasons for going off on director of photography Shane Hurlbut on the set of Terminator: Salvation in July.

In the recorded rant, Bale harangued the dp for walking behind the camera and disturbing a scene between the actor and his co-star Bryce Dallas Howard.

Radar Online reports that the dp was allegedly persona non grata on the set of director McG’s film, which opens on May 22. Sources say Halburt was allegedly “widely despised.”

“Hurlbut was a condescending (bleep) to everyone,” a source told us. His favorite line was “Why don’t you go stab yourself in the head, you idiot,” a source says.

The audio of Bale’s meltdown was released last week online, and has since spawned dozens of viral videos and remixes. Bale called into a Los Angeles radio show and publicly apologized on Friday.

Bale has one celebrity supporter, however.

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard (Bryce Dallas’ father) called into the Howard Stern Sirius radio show last week to defend the actor, according to What Would Tyler Durden Do?

“They were doing this tense dramatic scene, it was like the most important dramatic scene between them, they play husband and wife, and the DP disrupted it by walking around behind (the camera), which really is a no-no, you know, you’re an actor playing an intense difficult scene, that’s not supposed to happen.  And he (Bale) went off.  And I listened to the tape, and at the time, you know, he regretted it immediately.  Bryce told me this is not his nature, this is not who he is,” Howard explained.

A no-no which required 36 f-bombs?