i'm confusedIn order:
1. I made no reference to the pedal, actually. However, what the author of this image intends the interpretation to be (or what the original image is intended to portray) is irrelevant to what the image evokes in those who see it. If the unwanted association is there, that is an issue regardless of authorial intent and the designer can choose to act to change the image or or not. Regardless of whether the Nazi-esque association is the main issue, the graphic seems to be losing him sales. There's no responsibility on the consumer's part to change their expectations.
2. You're ignoring time and prevalence in this argument. Sure, this salute was not always associated with Nazis, but it overwhelmingly is, now, and that needs to inform the decision of anyone using that symbol or something that resembles it. There is nothing intrinsic about that symbol or any other symbol other than, maybe, a pictogram. Further, the association with American Socialism is obscure, outdated, and frankly irrelevant to current meaning. Meanings of symbols change over time and can do so extremely quickly. I highly doubt if I say the word "naughty" for example, that anyone's interpretation of that is going to be someone poor (to have naught) or that "awful" means the same thing as "awesome" or "awe-inspiring" to you. Each time any symbol is used, it is re-contextualized and this leads to unstable meaning because, not surprisingly, they have socially-assigned meanings rather than intrinsic meanings in the first place.
3. As you might gather, I also have a strong background in this field. (In fact, I am literally a Master). I don't think you were intending to be offensive, but that does not mean that you should not be careful about what you say. The author has no authority over how the reader percieves his meaning. Neither does the reader have control of their immediate reaction.
what are you a master of?