US reporter told her skirt was 'too short' to witness execution of death-row inmate

30 July 2022, 15:25

Ivana Hrynkiw, a reporter with AL.com, was told her skirt was "too short".
Ivana Hrynkiw, a reporter with AL.com, was told her skirt was "too short". Picture: Instagram

By Sophie Barnett

An American journalist was told her skirt was "too short" to witness an execution of a death-row inmate in Alabama.

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Ivana Hrynkiw, managing producer of AL.com, says she was told her skirt was "too short" and her open-toed shoes were too revealing by a member of staff at the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC).

She attended the prison on Thursday to cover the execution of Joe Nathan James Jr, sentenced to death for killing his ex-girlfriend, Faith Hall, 26, in 1994.

Ms Hrynkiw, who has attended and witnessed seven executions, said in a statement on Twitter that officials examined her clothing when she arrived at the media centre at William C Holman Correctional Facility.

She claims she was told her outfit violated their dress code and was forced to change.

“I have worn this skirt to prior executions without incident, to work, professional events and more and I believe it is more than appropriate. At 5′10″ with my heels on, I am a tall and long-legged person,” she said in a statement on Twitter.

"I tried to pull my skirt to my hips to make the skirt longer, but was told it was still not appropriate," she added.

A photographer loaned Ms Hrynkiw his protective rain clothing, including waterproof wader trousers, which the ADOC deemed appropriate.

Following the change of clothes, Ms Hrynkiw was told her open-toed heels also violated policy. She was told to put on closed-toe shoes, and put on tennis shoes she had in her car.

The prison spokesperson said the skirt violated the prison’s dress length policy, as well as her open-toed shoes, Ms Hrynkiw said.

The incident left her feeling "uncomfortable".

"I felt embarrassed to have my body and my clothes questioned in front of a room of people I mostly had never met," she said.

AL.com sent a formal complaint to ADOC, Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall on Friday.

The Associated Press, who also had a female reporter subjected to that same clothing inspection, also sent a letter to Ivey late Friday afternoon asking her office to investigate and “ensure such behaviour is not tolerated and does not occur again".

The execution of Joe Nathan James by lethal injection was held up for three hours due to the amount of time it took to establish an intravenous line.

He was executed despite pleas from the victim's relatives to spare his life.

LBC has approached ADOC for comment.

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