Josh Gad's portrayal of LeFou has caused a stir as Disney's first gay character, with bosses at a cinema in Alabama refusing to screen the film and censors in Russia slapping a 16+ rating on the movie, which is released this weekend (17Mar17).

And, according to the Associated Press, a minor gay scene was cut from the version of the film submitted to officials at Malaysia's Film Censorship Board, who granted the edit a P13 rating, which means children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Disney chiefs did not appeal the censorship ruling, but executives at two of Malaysia's leading cinema chains have cancelled all planned screenings of Beauty and the Beast, and studio bosses have now an issued a statement over the change.

"The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia," a statement to TheWrap.com reads.

It is unclear if the Malaysia release will be cancelled permanently.

The new film, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is being touted as a family-friendly movie around the rest of the world.

Russian censors previously objected to the inclusion of Gad's homosexual character. So-called "gay propaganda" among kids is banned in Russian under a three-year-old law.

The conservative owners of the Henagar Drive-In Theatre in Alabama have also taken exception to director Bill Condon's big reveal that his LeFou is Disney's first-ever LGBTQ character, and they have decided not to show the movie.

A statement on the cinema's Facebook page reads: "If we can not take our 11 year old granddaughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it."

Calling themselves "first and foremost Christians", the owners add: "We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language."