'Scandal' actor Scott Foley: In defense of Jake...

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Image Credit: Randy Holmes/ABC

Flashback: September 2013. EW’s Fall TV preview hits stands…and all hell breaks loose on Twitter.

Okay, that’s maybe a little bit of an exaggeration, but there were some Gladiators who weren’t too happy about the appearance of Scandal‘s Scott Foley on the cover of the aforementioned issue. Why? Because his character, CIA guy Jake Ballard, is the enemy of Olitz (Olivia + Fitz) loyalists everywhere after he romanced The Pope last year.

And, yes, Foley himself is well aware of the backlash. “People threatened not to buy your cover because I was on it,” he recalled last weekend when EW caught up with him at an event celebrating 200 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, on which the actor has guest starred.

But as sympathetic as Foley is to the plight of Olitz fans, he also jumped at the chance to stand up on behalf of Jake. Below is his “defense of Jake,” verbatim.

It’s very easy. In defense of Jake…Jake was sent to watch Olivia. Now, Jake let his emotions and his feelings for her get in the way of his job to a point; although, he never stopped watching her and never stopped looking out for her, but he also didn’t know the president was in a relationship with her. So there was no betrayal. There was no direct betrayal of Fitz with his relationship. If there was EVER a betrayal, it was when Fitz asked if there was another man. Jake, I think as most men would, said there wasn’t — instead of saying, ‘Yeah, dude, I’m now sleeping with your ex-girlfriend because I didn’t know she was your ex-girlfriend because you didn’t f—ing tell me she was your ex-girlfriend when we started this thing.’ That’s in defense of Jake. Jake’s always been a man who had a task to do and that’s all he’s always done. And can you blame him? Olivia’s a strong, powerful, beautiful, intelligent woman. I think any man would fall for her, and if she seems to be available and free and is reciprocating those feelings? That’s my Jake defense.

An excellent defense, right?…What do you mean, “No”? What?…Stop, Gladiators! I’m only the messenger. Nooooooo!!! [Gets thrown into a hole]

Scandal returns tonight on ABC.

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