A CNN journalist was forced to take quick action during a live news report from a beach in California when a woman wandered into the shot, pulled down her undies and went for a number two.

The scene provided a microcosm of America's national crises, with national correspondent Sarah Sidner being in the middle of discussing the coronavirus pandemic with her co-workers in New York City when the incident happened on Monday.

In the footage, which was filmed at Santa Monica beach, in LA, the woman, put down several black garbage bags on the sand before doing the deed.

It is believed the woman is homeless according to some reports.

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A woman can be seen behind CNN's national correspondent Sarah Sidner during a live cross pulling her pants down. Photo / CNN
A woman can be seen behind CNN's national correspondent Sarah Sidner during a live cross pulling her pants down. Photo / CNN
The woman then relieved herself live on-air. Photo / CNN
The woman then relieved herself live on-air. Photo / CNN
The journalist then shifts to the right, to obscure the scene from viewers. Photo / CNN
The journalist then shifts to the right, to obscure the scene from viewers. Photo / CNN

Despite Sidner's quick move, the woman's gross act was hard to ignore with many online in shock over the public display.

"Most people would try to find a toilet, and if there wasn't one, a bush. Who on earth would decide to take a crap in front of a TV camera?" one person asked.

"When nature calls, you have to answer!" said another.

Others saw the humour in it: "Now that is a crap day at work," one joked.