SPRINGER GETS DEFENSIVE

04/14/1999 at 12:00 AM EDT

Jerry Springer evoked the memory of Princess Diana in defending his TV talk show, which often erupts into a slugfest between guests. Diana talked publicly about the same topics featured on "The Jerry Springer Show," he said Tuesday during a debate at the Oxford Union, Oxford University's debating society in England. "She talked about not being faithful in her marriage, she talked about bulimia and she talked about even contemplating suicide," Springer said in an apparent reference to her tell-all interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. in 1995. Springer said there is "a lot of elitism" in the criticism of his show and its guests. "Because they don't speak the Queen's English, because they're not rich or powerful or famous and they didn't go to Oxford or our Harvard, we seem to call them trash," said Springer, in Britain for a promotional tour. "They're not trash, they're human beings."

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