Ava DuVernay thinks the bond between an actor and director is ''sacred'' and has slammed the ''harmful manipulation and harassment'' towards actors as ''sinful''.

Appearing to reference the allegations made against producer Harvey Weinstein - who has been accused of sexually assaulting a number of women of a 30 year period - Ava insisted ''no one is safe'' until ''we are all safe''.

Speaking as she accepted her John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing at the British Academy Britannia Awards, she said: ''I regard the bond between a director and an actor as sacred. Because if we do it right, we're in a union, a creative marriage, creating life together ... So to imagine what's been in the news this week, the harmful manipulation and harassment and emotional violence towards actors in my view is sinful. Sinful because I've held the innermost feelings of an actor in my hand.

''So how dare someone enter into that sacred space with an aim to do harm? It's an abuse of a very singular kind. It should be entirely unacceptable in our industry ... I've said it before and I'll say it again: We don't have time to work on these dark behaviours, these 'isms' one by one ... we should be outraged by all of it, all of the time. Until we are all safe, no one is safe.''

Since the allegations were made against Harvey, he has been sacked from The Weinstein Company - which he co-founded with his brother Bob in 2005 - and has had his membership of the Academy revoked.

Harvey has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex made against him.