That is the question posed in a wonderfully entertaining and historically interesting article written by Dave Kluft from Boston’s firm Foley Hoag.
As his article points out, accusations of being a “witch doctor” and the use of “witchcraft” have served as a basis for defamation and slander suits around the country, and still percolate through various courts. In New York, witchcraft is no longer considered a crime, so it is unlikely to be considered slander per se, however, you should still mind what you say.
In defamation per se cases, New York law doesn’t require a plaintiff to prove that they were “damaged” by the offending words, but a jury will decide how much or how little injury occurred. Damages are assumed only where the person defaming someone alleges that the injured person: