(NEW YORK) -- After the immense backlash he experienced for his alleged hate crime hoax, Loni Love says she's hoping that her close friend Jussie Smollett will finally tell his side of the story.
Love revealed last week via Twitter that she had a "candid" conversation with Smollett. She tells ABC Radio that she encouraged a "raw" and "very emotional" Smollett to tell his truth.
"I told him, 'People need to hear your version of the story.' I still believe that people want to hear that," she recalls. "Because when I sent out my tweet people actually was like, 'If we never hear from him, we still are rooting for him. We still support him.'"
According to Loni, the Empire actor has had a difficult time since reporting that he was the victim of a hate crime. He was later charged with filing a false police report but prosecutors eventually dropped the charges. Still, Love says the ongoing criticism has taken its toll.
"Right now he's losing jobs," she reveals. "People don't realize he was working on projects. And now he's losing that because there's just this one side of the story."
She continues, "We don't really know the true facts. So, when he said what he said to me, I'm like, 'You know what? You need to say that to someone. You need to do an interview.'"
Loni says she'd give Smollett the entire hour of The Real if he wanted to speak his piece on her show, but she's not sure says she's not sure he's ready to do that.
"Maybe he will never speak on it. Maybe he'll just hope that it will just go away and he'll make a slow comeback," she says. "But, I do believe that when people hear what he has to say, some of that skepticism will leave."
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