Previous studies have shown that saccades may deviate towards or away from task irrelevant visual distractors. This observation has been attributed to active suppression (inhibition) of the distractor location unfolding over time: early in time inhibition at the distractor location is incomplete causing deviation towards the distractor, while later in time when inhibition is complete the eyes deviate away from the distractor. In a recent computational study, Wang, Kruijne and Theeuwes proposed an alternative theory that the lateral interactions in the superior colliculus (SC), which are characterized by short-distance excitation and long-distance inhibition, are sufficient for generating both deviations towards and away from distractors. In the present study, we performed a meta-analysis of the literature, ran model simulations and conducted two behavioral experiments to further explore this unconventional theory. Confirming predictions generated by the model simulations, the behavioral experiments show that a) saccades deviate towards close distractors and away from remote distractors, and b) the amount of deviation depends on the strength of fixation activity in the SC, which can be manipulated by turning off the fixation stimulus before or after target onset (Experiment 1), or by varying the eccentricity of the target and distractor (Experiment 2).