I would like request some advice regarding my situation. Here is a summary: I submitted an article for review for publication in an upper-tier academic journal. I have been published in this journal before and thought I had a good relationship with the editor in chief (EIC). Six months after submission, I received an email from the EIC, telling me that the article was excellent and after I made one small change, they would agree to publish it. I made the change to the EIC's satisfaction and the EIC agreed to publish the article.
Six months after this, I unexpectedly received an email from the EIC telling me that, upon further review, the journal would not publish the article. The EIC then listed three "incorrect" words (yes, words) in the article (it is 20+ pages in length) as the reasons for not publishing it. The EIC stated that publishing the article in its present form would damage my career goals. The EIC also informed me he would not work with me on the article any longer, as he had "spent enough time on it." The EIC then stated that I needed to re-do the entire article and work with "experts in the field." After this was completed, the EIC stated I could resubmit, if I wanted. Again, all of this is completely out of the blue.
Needless to say, I am stunned. Also needless to say, this situation is unacceptable. How would you suggest I proceed at this point? In my opinion, the EIC made a commitment to publish my article in its present form and the EIC should honor this commitment. Should I attempt to contact the EIC's superior(s) about this behavior? It is very strange, and is a huge breach of academic standards. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.