08/31/2016 11:19 EDT | Updated 08/31/2016 11:59 EDT

Brian Jean Sorry For Joke About Beating Rachel Notley

Notley's been the target of violent threats since becoming premier.

Wildrose leader Brian Jean has apologized after he made a joke about beating Premier Rachel Notley.

Jean was at a forum in Fort McMurray on Tuesday when an audience member asked about a long-awaited seniors' housing complex.

"Let's be honest. I've been beating this drum for 10, 11, 12 years now, so I will continue to beat it, I promise. But it is against the law to beat Rachel Notley, so ...'' he said before being cut off by laughter and applause.

"I've been beating this drum for 10, 11 years ... but it's against the law to beat Rachel Notley." —Brian Jean

The official Opposition leader then returned to the mic shortly after to apologize for the comment and praised Notley.

Jean said in a statement issued by his office Wednesday morning that he made an "inappropriate attempt at humour'' and apologized again.

"Jokes of this nature are never acceptable and I hold myself to a higher standard,'' he said. "I have reached out to Premier Notley to sincerely apologize directly to her.''

Social media users expressed concern the comments are just another instance of violent threats towards Alberta's female politicians.

In June, Notley's face was used as a target at a golf tournament.

A Wildrose MLA was also briefly suspended recently after he condoned a constituent's sexist comment against visiting Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Last year, Jean had called for an end to violent comments against Notley and the members of her legislature.

“This needs to stop. These kinds of comments cross all bounds of respect and decency and have absolutely no place in our political discourse. This is not how Albertans behave,” he wrote in a Facebook post at the time.

With files from The Canadian Press

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