Eli: "Yeah, I don't think that'll be enough here. You're already fired and you don't even know it. So on the one hand you came down for no reason, since Alicia just canceled this meeting, but on the other hand I'm glad because now I know you are never going to work in my Peter's administration. Look at you, come on."
Is he being sexist? Yeah. But it's one of those things where... Like, I always said that Tyra Banks -- during her heyday, which was a while ago now -- was a genius not because she knows what people like, but because she happens to be so basic that what she likes, people like. Hollywood is full of people like this -- or think they are like this, disastrously -- where what they like will fly, because they like things that people like. For Tyra, it was stuff like, "What if I wore a fatsuit all day? What if you were homeless? Do dolphins rape people?" All very interesting questions, but they didn't come from a focus group: They came from Tyra, who is interesting by not being very interesting.
And so you have Eli Gold, whose job(s) have all clustered around the centrality of optics: Crisis management, spin doctoring, all of these things are about not what he feels, but how things look. And the more you do that, the more they come to mean the same thing. I heard a story once that Prince took a lady to the recording studio and played several songs for her and, as some kind of sex weirdness, asked her to pick which one was the single: This idea of internalizing what's commercial, what's visual, what's going to sell, is key to every industry and marketing venture that ever existed. Eventually it becomes a part of your heart, and your art, and that's when you become successful.
Eli sells because Eli buys; at some point, Eli became both observer and observed. So it's not exactly relevant whether he, personally, finds Marilyn attractive one way or the other: Only that her attractiveness tells a story. Is that story okay? Well, no. Peter's a philanderer with other ethics problems, and his staffing moves at the SA -- hiring hot-ass Amanda Peete, no black people ever -- are already a big thing. So inheriting Mitch, Eli's going to hate that. And Peter can tell him not to be a dick, but Peter has the privilege of worrying about different things than Eli does, because it's Eli's job to worry about whether Mitch is too pretty, which she is.