In the mid 1970s, Joyce McKinney and Kirk Anderson had a brief affair in Utah.
She was a beautiful 27 year-old, blonde beauty queen: Miss Wyoming.
He was a 19 year-old Mormon.
His Church told him pre-marital sex was wrong, and anyway she wasn’t even a Mormon.
He should break it off immediately and return to a life of chastity.
To help break them up, they sent him to England as a missionary.
But Joyce McKinney wasn’t prepared to take no for an answer.
She believed he’d been brainwashed by a cult.
So she hired a private investigator to track him down.
In 1977, she kidnapped him at gunpoint on the steps of the Mormon mission in Ewell, Surrey.
He was chloroformed and taken to a secret hideaway.
When he woke up, he was naked and manacled, spread-eagled, to a bed, held there with mink-lined handcuffs.
He said he wanted to leave, he maintains he was wearing a male chastity belt.
But Joyce McKinney had sex with him like that, non-stop, for three days.
Eventually Andersen promised to marry her, and he returned to the Mormon mission.
They were horrified, they told him to report to the police he’d been kidnapped and raped.
Joyce McKinney was arrested and tried at Epsom Magistrates Court.
She denied rape, she said she was saving Andersen from a cult.
She told the court “I would have skied down Mount Everest in the nude with a carnation up my nose if he’d asked me to do it.”
But the line I liked best was when the judge asked her if the sex was consensual.
She said “How can you have sex with a man who doesn’t want it? It would be like trying to push a marshmallow into a parking meter.”
Joyce McKinney was held on remand for 3 months, at Holloway Women’s Prison.
When she was transported to court, she held up a sign at the window of the van.
On a piece of cardboard she’d written “Kirk left with me willingly! He fears excommunication for leaving his mission and made up this ‘kidnap-rape’ story”
Eventually she jumped bail and fled to Canada, where she dropped out of sight.
But one issue was never proved one way or the other.
Did Kirk Andersen willingly have sex or not?
The mink lined handcuffs would seem to indicate he didn’t.
But the ‘male chastity belt’ is a S&M device designed for pleasure not chastity.
The main learning for me is Joyce McKinney didn’t know when to take no for an answer.
In our business we’re confronted with decisions like that all the time.
For instance, should we keep pushing to get an ad approved?
It’s been turned down by the ECD, the client said no, Clearcast said no.
But should we keep pushing, should we keep trying to find a way to make it run?
George Bernard Shaw said: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
So we admire people who are unreasonable, people who are unstoppable.
But is there a point when we should take no for an answer?
Mike Gold once told me it’s a simple equation: “Is what you get worth what it costs?”
If it is, keep going.
If it isn’t, stop.
But you have to be honest about what the cost is, because there will be a cost.
There isn’t a right decision about when to take no for an answer.
All there is, is the right answer for you, and you have to decide that for yourself.
Because you’ll be the one left with the bill.