Asked by NashvilleGab
if he's ever received any criticism for the song, Stevens replied: "When I was a kid, my mom gave me a book called Arabian Nights
, and I wrote the song just from information I learned outta that book. You know, the book talked about Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves and 'open sesame' and, you know, all the fun stuff that is in that book."
"And so I thought, I'll write a [song] about this guy, and he's messing around with one of the Sultan's girls in the harem. There's nothing racist about it."