American journalist ordered to change clothes after being told her skirt was too short to watch the execution | American News

A reporter was forced to change her outfit as she watched a death row inmate being executed in Alabama after prison officials said her skirt was too short.

Ivana Hrynkiw Shatara, chief producer of the AL.com website, says an Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) staff member also told her that her open-toed shoes were too revealing.

Ms Hrynkiw Shatara was arrested as she arrived at the media center at the William C Holman Correctional Institution in the city of Atmore and said her outfit breached the prison’s dress code.

She traveled to prison on July 28 to cover the execution of Joe Nathan James Jr, who was sentenced to death for killing his ex-girlfriend, 26-year-old Faith Hall, in 1994.

In a statement shared on Twitter, the reporter said she had worn the same skirt at previous executions and other professional events “without incident”, adding, “I think it’s more than appropriate.”

“Tonight I was told publicly by a representative from the Alabama Department of Corrections that I couldn’t see the execution because my skirt was too short,” she wrote.

“At 5’7″ and 5’10” with my heels on, I’m a tall, leggy person.

“I tried pulling my skirt over my hips to lengthen the skirt, but was told it was still not appropriate.”

A photographer lent Ms Hrynkiw Shatara her rain protective gear, including waterproof waders, which the ADOC deemed appropriate.

However, she then had to return to her car to swap her shoes after learning they didn’t fit.

“Despite wearing thigh-high boots from a man I’ve never met and casual tennis shoes, I continued to do my job,” she said.

Image:
Death row inmate Joe Nathan James Jr Pic: AP

But the incident left her “uncomfortable”, Ms Hrynkiw Shatara added.

“I felt embarrassed to have my body and clothes questioned in front of a room of people most of whom I had never met.

“I sat down, tried to stop blushing and did my job. As women often have to do.”

Another reporter, Kaitlyn Ross, responded to the tweet saying she too was denied access to a government facility because her clothes were deemed “too revealing”.

“It’s exhausting being a woman,” she wrote.

“You did a great job under ridiculous circumstances. I’m sorry this happened.”

The editor of the Alabama Media Group, owner of AL.com, called Ms Hrynkiw Shatara’s treatment “unacceptable” and “unequal”.

“I’m proud to work with Ivana, who despite this treatment, continued to professionally tell the story to our audience in Alabama,” she said.

“It was sexist and a flagrant violation of professional conduct. And it shouldn’t happen to any other journalist.”

AL.com sent a complaint to ADOC as well as Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall.

The execution of Joe Nathan James by lethal injection has been suspended for three hours due to the time it took to establish an IV line.

The delay was described as a “highly unusual and very disturbing” amount of time by the head of the Death Penalty Information Centre, a non-profit organization focused on issues surrounding capital punishment.

The William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama Pic: AP
Image:
The William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama Pic: AP

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

Ms Hall’s daughters, who were three and six when she died, said they had forgiven James and would rather he serve out his life behind bars.

But Governor Ivey refused to intervene and Mr Marshall said an execution would ensure justice was served.

The execution sends an “unequivocal message has been sent that Alabama stands with victims of domestic violence.”

Sky News has contacted ADOC for comment.


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